St Kilda's King makes case for AFL debut

St Kilda have pencilled in boom youngster Max King for a round one AFL debut after he kicked four goals in an eye-catching display in the Saints' latest intra-club practice match.

The No.4 pick at the 2018 draft didn't feature at AFL level last season after he suffered an ankle injury in his sixth VFL game back from a knee reconstruction.

The buzz around the athletic 202cm giant will only intensify after he showed glimpses of brilliance in Thursday's scratch match at Moorabbin.

"I would think Max would be right in the mix for round one," Saints head of football David Rath said.

"... I think today's game was a bit of a snapshot of where Max is at; he made some opportunities, but he left quite a few out there too.

"He's a work-in-progress.

"He's exciting but he's still got a lot to learn."

King wasn't the only positive as the club gears up for the first full season under new coach Brett Ratten.

Three new arrivals from the club's off-season trade bonanza were impressive, with Zak Jones getting plenty of the ball, Dougal Howard solid in defence and Dan Butler kicking two goals.

Fellow signings Bradley Hill and Paddy Ryder didn't play, with Hill carrying a corked thigh and 31-year-old Ryder managed with soreness.

Veteran defender Dylan Roberton played out the match and is on track to play his first AFL game since he collapsed on the field at GMHBA Stadium in round four, 2018, due to a heart issue.

Jack Lonie booted three goals and set up another and Ben Long starred in a new role across half-back.

"He's playing with real instinct and freedom and that's something that Ratts has given him the trust to do," Rath said.

"He's been one that's really grasped that (opportunity) and really grown as a player.

"He's taking the game on, he's attacking, and there were a couple of plays today where he just opened the opposition up with a couple of simple decisions."

Luke Dunstan was the only cause for concern, the midfielder limping off after a knock to his right hip that could keep him out of next week's pre-season series game against Hawthorn.

St Kilda open their 2020 premiership campaign against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, March 22.