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Tomorrow's Heroes: Tall's versatility a big selling point

Tomorrow's Heroes: Ben King The versatile tall is a certain top-10 pick

BEN KING'S season started in the backline, where he had become accustomed to playing.

He was named best afield from centre half-back while playing for the NAB AFL Academy against North Melbourne's VFL side in April.

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But when twin brother Max was forced to undergo a knee reconstruction only weeks later, Ben switched forward for the rest of the year, winning All Australian honours for his efforts for Vic Metro at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

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In fact, the day Max suffered the injury while playing for Haileybury College in Melbourne's school system, Ben went forward to kick 11 goals to kickstart his time in attack.

Not only is King exceptionally tall at 202cm, he's also brilliantly athletic. He ran the 20-metre sprint in 2.97 seconds at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, and like his brother, he is excellent at ground level.

When playing forward, that means if he doesn't grab the ball in the air he's still a threat at ground level, and it was often the case this season that King would beat his opponent to the ball after a marking contest, break a tackle and then snap a goal. He averaged three goals a game at the championships, including five against Western Australia and four against South Australia. 

King's capacity to play at both ends of the ground makes him a very appealing prospect for clubs searching for a talented tall. His recovery on the ground plus his reach in the air means he will equip himself well at AFL level.

King has been encouraged to be more physical with his contested marking, as most of his marks, particularly as a forward, come when he's on the lead instead of in pack situations. He uses his height and athleticism superbly, but if he could get his contested marking to the same level he'd be very difficult to stop.

His goalkicking can also be wayward at times, and it cost him some very big hauls in several dominant outings this year.

In his ability to impact games at both ends of the ground, as well as his high marking, King has drawn comparisons to St Kilda backman Jake Carlisle.

King will be among the first handful of names selected at Thursday night's NAB AFL Draft, but which club will take him? Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs have all been linked to King.

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The most versatile tall in the draft pool. King has proven he can do it at both ends and will be picked early because of it.