AFL – Can King take crown in packed field?

A big start to the AFL season has Saint Max King primed to become the youngest Coleman Medal winner in over a decade, in what is a packed field.

Six rounds into an AFL season, punters can usually pinpoint three or four players they might think can claim that season’s Coleman Medal. In 2022, however, the top bracket is far wider — and it’s reflected in the markets. There is currently six players at $10 or shorter to claim the AFL’s goal kicking prize, and the ones directly after that (Crow Taylor Walker at $12, Docker Matt Taberner at $13 and Blue Charlie Curnow also at $13) are all genuine chances.

One of the huge hopes, though, has had more shot at goals than any other player thus far. And, should he go onto win it, would become the youngest Coleman Medalist in 12 years.

Saint Max

Max King has shown glimpses that he’s ‘about to explode’ at various instances in the last 12 months. But in 2022, it may just be that time. King is the $6.00 second-favourite with Palmerbet to claim the Coleman Medal this AFL season, marginally longer than favourite Tom Hawkins at $5.50.

Cat Hawkins (20 goals) currently leads the tight race, with King on 17. Should he go on to win, King (who started the year at $13 with Palmerbet) will be the least experienced forward since Jack Riewoldt to claim the prestigious medal. Riewoldt won the Coleman in 2010 having played, incredibly, just 46 AFL games. King has played 44 games to date.

Chances galore

No one has had more shots at goal (37) in 2022 than King, a stat he leads by three (over Jeremy Cameron on 34). His marking has never been in question, but his kicking has. This was perhaps best underlined by his performance in St Kilda’s win over GWS in AFL Round 6, when King kicked a wayward 1.7. Of the top chances in this year’s Coleman (which also includes Cameron at $6.00, Harry McKay at $7.00, Joe Daniher at $8.00 and Aaron Naughton at $10.00), King is the only player with a goal accuracy percentage below 50 per cent.

Despite this, King is fairly universally regarded as the best young forward in the AFL. Take former Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins, for example. “He’s just generating a lot more opportunities for himself,” Jenking said recently on SEN Radio. “I think he’s starting to understand AFL footy…Max can go up and get the ball from a height that no one else in the game can really reach. When he gets three or four gather steps and launches up at the footy, no one can reach him.”