For a teenager who had played just 14 games, there was plenty of off-season speculation surrounding Ben King's future, but the young Victorian said extending his contract with Gold Coast was an "easy" decision.
King was back at Carrara on Monday morning for the first day of the SUNS' pre-season, fresh from inking a deal that ties him to the club until the end of 2022.
St Kilda footy chief Simon Lethlean revealed during the Telstra AFL Trade Period that the Saints had spoken to King's management – the same company that manages twin brother Max – and would have been interested in pursuing the 19-year-old if he hadn't re-signed with Gold Coast.
But it was never close, with King saying he needed the off-season breathing space to talk to those that mattered.
"The only thing that mattered to me was what I was feeling and what my family was thinking about the situation and that made for an easy decision in the end," he said.
"From the start I was loving being up here and the off-season gave me time to reflect on my year and think about the future ahead, so I thought the time was right to commit for the next few years."
King said he was relieved to get the deal done and now he could focus on getting fitter and stronger ahead of his second season.
With the SUNS about to select another host of young talent – including likely top-two picks Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson – at the upcoming NAB AFL Draft, King had some words of advice for those players read out by Gold Coast.
"Just come here with an open mindset," he said.
"You do hear a lot of negative media down in Melbourne about Gold Coast but I'm confident when those boys come up here they'll see what this group is like and what the culture has turned into."