Max King at St Kilda training at RSEA Park on April 30, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

ST KILDA has urged spearhead Max King to look to Carlton star Charlie Curnow for inspiration after the luckless forward suffered a season-ending knee injury.

King, 23, who endured fierce criticism for his performance in a close defeat to Port Adelaide on Sunday, tore his posterior cruciate ligament when he hit the ground in a marking contest just after half-time against the Power.

He played out the game but subsequent swelling prompted the Saints to send King for scans.

The injury is on the same left knee that led to him missing two matches earlier in the season. St Kilda believes the injuries are unrelated.

King won't require surgery and had the option of playing out the season but will instead sit it out to attempt to have a full pre-season for the first time in three years.

Since being drafted in 2018, King has struggled with shoulder injuries and was not able to debut until 2020 after missing the 2019 season due to an anterior cruciate ligament rupture suffered in his draft year.


He is contracted until the end of the 2026 season but St Kilda has already started talks about an extension, keen to swat away opposition interest.

Football boss David Misson believes King can echo the rise of Curnow, who overcame a career-threatening run of knee injuries between 2019 and 2021 to catapult himself to stardom and two Coleman Medals.

Charlie Curnow injures his knee in round 15, 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

When asked how adamant the Saints were to keep hold of King, Misson said: "Very adamant.

"We feel that Max is a long-term player at St Kilda.

"I spoke to him on the phone earlier and cited Charlie Curnow's history, who played 15 games in three years and virtually missed two seasons with knee injuries.

"He's only a young guy, he's about to turn 24, he's had some problems with his body, but we're really confident that he's going to overcome those and he's going to be a long-term established player for this football club.

"They've (talks on King's future) started and we are in talks and we're really pleased with the way they're going but we're not at a stage yet to announce anything."

Misson believed King's rehabilitation - which will initially include three weeks of keeping the leg immobile in a brace - would also allow him to build confidence in his reconstructed shoulder.


King has kicked 159 goals across his 83-game career but has managed just 23 matches in the past two seasons. He's tallied 19 from 12 games this campaign after firing in 2022 with 52 majors.

St Kilda made the finals last year, with King playing a crucial role in its charge once he was available mid-season following shoulder surgery.

Max King celebrates during the round eight match between St Kilda and North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, May 4, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

But this season, the Saints have slumped to 15th on the ladder with a 5-10 record and are ranked 15th in attack this season, just in front of bottom-placed North Melbourne.

The Saints' poor season has also raised queries about the quality of their list.

"I don't think it needs an overhaul but we're constantly trying to make our list better and we're looking at list management meetings, obviously the season coming to an end in the next few weeks," Misson said.

"So we'll be a bit more specific about what our needs are in the next month or so."