Max King in action during St Kilda's clash against North Melbourne in round eight, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

PORT Adelaide champion Kane Cornes says St Kilda spearhead Max King missed a golden opportunity to kickstart his stop-start season on Saturday and needs to produce more if the Saints are to return to finals this season.

King has had a frustrating 2024 to date, missing one game through suspension and then another two due to a knee injury.

Having started the year with five goals in his first two games, he's managed just two majors in three matches since then, including one from seven disposals in his return from injury against North Melbourne on Saturday.

Against an inexperienced and undersized Kangaroos' defence, King's only goal came from an off-the-ball free kick and he had just two score involvements for the day despite the Saints scoring more than 100 points for the first time this year.

Jesse Hogan, Jeremy Cameron, Joe Daniher and Harry McKay have all dined out on the Roos this season, kicking five or more goals to go with 10 or more score involvements, and Cornes believes King should have contributed more on Saturday.

"What a missed opportunity for Max," Cornes told The Round So Far.


"He comes back into the side, playing against North Melbourne who have no key defenders ... and that was the return.

"He's 23 now, he's been in the system for such a long time, he gets paid a stack of money and if the Saints want to get to where they think they should be going, they need more from him.

"He was really poor. One mark, one goal and that goal was right off the ball from the top of the goalsquare after an undisciplined effort from Aidan Corr.

"It was a really disappointing afternoon on what was a better day for the Saints, where at least they were able to kick 100 points."


While King was well below his best against the Roos, Jack Hayes impressed in what was just his second game in more than two years after a string of injuries.

The 28-year-old kicked two goals from 17 disposals along with six marks, while he also had three hitouts pitching in as a ruckman.

Hayes has been hit hard by injury since being recruited at the age of 26, but his ability to play forward and in the ruck could benefit the likes of King, Mitch Owens and Rowan Marshall.

"I've done a power of work and the strength and conditioning guys have got me in good nick to be out there," Hayes said on Saturday.

"It's been a long road. I've had a lot of trouble with the knee so hopefully fingers crossed I don't have any more trouble with it and I can keep playing some consistent footy."