Saints' King set for Crows AFL battle

·2-min read

St Kilda are confident Max King will be fit to take on Adelaide in Cairns despite the young key forward continuing to manage a back complaint.

King hurt his back at training last week and the injury flared up during the narrow loss to Sydney.

The 20-year-old was stationed deep in attack and kicked 1.1 from just four disposals.

But he moved well at training on Thursday and is set to head north with the Saints for Saturday night's match as they cling to their faint finals hopes.

"He completed training and did what he had to do, so we're fairly confident," St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said.

"We're flying up on Saturday so he should be right to go, but if he's sore and stiff we'll take him out.

"But everything looks pretty positive."

King, the 2018 No.4 draft pick, has attracted some criticism from notable past players in recent weeks, with Garry Lyon and Jonathan Brown quick to point out perceived flaws during the television broadcast of the Sydney match.

Ratten believes his 29-game key forward is headed in the right direction and will correct his wayward goal-kicking.

"He's a player that's going to keep getting to good spots and giving himself a chance," Ratten said.

"On the weekend it will be how many contests he can influence.

"He doesn't have to mark the ball, he just has to keep making sure he's getting to as many contests as he can.

"I think then he will influence the game."

King is working with Saints football boss David Rath, assistant coach Jarryd Roughead and others inside the club to manage personal and external expectations.

"It's a high-performing industry, you're a professional athlete and you want to perform, but you can get the balance wrong," Ratten said.

"Every player has these challenges about making sure it's a balanced approach and you want to be driven.

"But the outside pressure is probably higher on him as a second-year player than probably most."

Meanwhile, Saints wingman Bradley Hill left the training track early on Thursday so he could watch his grandfather's funeral online.

Ratten revealed Hill's grandfather died the night before the speedster had a career-low six disposals under a tag from North Melbourne's Bailey Scott in round 11.

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