St Kilda coach Brett Ratton has backed star forward Max King, 22, to help the 22-year-old continue his game, saying he “doesn’t look at anyone outside the club”.
King launched himself into the air during Friday night’s loss to Brisbane at Marvel Stadium, but the Saints’ finals hopes were completely dashed as he kicked five behinds and ended goalless.
Speaking after the game, Retton was strong in his defense of the King.
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“It’s part of the game and you see players who are good at playing the game, they had a night where they didn’t score as much as they wanted to,” he said.
“The fun thing about Max is that Tuesday was a day off for the players and he was doing an hour-and-a-half goal practice at Marvel Stadium. Every day we’re in the footy club or if we’re not in the footy club he’s there to kick the extra goal and make sure he gets a chance on game day and It adjusts well. The workforce is working.
“All I know is I want Max King in my corner. He’s been at our football club for 10 years and when we look back we can say what a great player he is and what he’s done. He had a bad night tonight.
He did everything right except finish for the outstanding strikers who happened to be in the game. He is 21 years old, we love what he brings to the football club, he is growing and we know he is doing the job. Sometimes you don’t always get the reward, but he keeps doing that and you see, he changes it.
King has had a relatively impressive season in front of goal, scoring 47 goals in 21 games.
However, there have been occasions where his inaccuracies have been disappointing, notably one goal and seven behind in round six and two goals and five behind in round 20 before five behind tonight.
Ratten told the king there were too many factors at play.
“I wouldn’t say high pressure, I think sometimes scoring goals has a lot of elements,” he said.
“The technical aspect, the mental aspect, the fatigue, which part of the world it is, people score goals from different positions and when the ball is on the left versus the right, they score more easily.
“I want to fight Max because he delivers and delivers.”
In the year In 2021, the Saints turned down Max King’s request for help from Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd – who also coached King at Haileybury College – instead opting to leave King’s goal kicking practice to insiders.
Asked if anything has changed since then, Rath’s response Friday night was firm.
“He doesn’t look at anyone outside the club, he doesn’t need to. We have people with the skills to continue working there,” he said.
“Like I told you, it’s not just about the technical side, it’s also about the mind. Goal kicking is a closed skill and there are different components to it.
“We’ll bring someone in and they’ll fix the hand drop or something like that. He doesn’t have many flaws, but sometimes they go against you.