Coach Lyon confirms King set for Saints return

·2-min read

Two training sessions are all that stands between St Kilda spearhead Max King and his hotly anticipated first appearance of the AFL season.

King booted 52 goals in 2022 but is yet to play this year after requiring a pre-season shoulder reconstruction, then suffering a hamstring injury during his recovery.

But Saints coach Ross Lyon has all but given the green light for the 22-year-old to face GWS at Giants Stadium on Sunday after Tim Membrey staggered off the field with a concussion against Adelaide.

"He needs to train today. He needs to complete Friday and then, with Tim Membrey in concussion protocol, he'll be selected," Lyon said.

"He was so close last week but there were just a couple of things going against him."

The Saints coach didn't express any concern over King's lack of high-level match practice or any pressure on the 202cm player to live up to those before him.

"As he goes in an uninterrupted week, he'll feel good," Lyon said.

"AFL football is abnormal. It's elite level sport. Every athlete will go into each week with a degree of anxiety. It's how you handle that so I'm sure he'll be fine.

"We know statistically he adds a bit to the team.

"The danger is - and I think St Kilda since they had (Tony) Lockett, (Kevin) 'Cowboy' Neale, and it's a club that's had (Nick) Riewoldt and Fraser Gehrig - you're looking for the next one, and sometimes it's undue pressure.

"But he's handled that really well.

"We know there's a tipping point for personnel but we'd love to have him (King) in. We think he makes us better."

Skipper Jack Steele (knee) will need to complete two training sessions to prove his fitness.

"We certainly wouldn't risk the team with anyone that's not 100 per cent fit," Lyon said.

But defender Jimmy Webster could be in line for a call up after producing a solid performance at VFL level on his return from a fractured cheekbone.

"He played exceptionally well," Lyon said.

"His run and his speed - he played like a senior player at Sandringham. So he puts himself right up there for selection."

Also on Wednesday, Anthony Caminiti continued his remarkable AFL rise by signing a three-year contract with the Saints.

In a recruiting coup, St Kilda snared Caminiti through the pre-season supplemental selection period, less than two months before round one.

The 19-year-old has been an important part of the Saints' attack, particularly given their injuries.