THERE was a piece of play early in the second quarter of Gold Coast's win over West Coast that set the tone for the Suns – and summed up what will take them forward.
It started across half-back when Charlie Ballard kicked to Sam Day, who handballed to Lachie Weller. Weller dished it to Wil Powell, who kicked inboard to Ben King at half-forward.
King kicked across to Jack Lukosius, who calmly picked off Noah Anderson inside 50. The second-gamer, having found space, marked and then went back to kick his first goal. In that passage of play, the only player older than 24 is Day.
"That was a great play," King told AFL.com.au.
"When Noah kicked his first goal we all ran in and celebrated and you look around and it's all 18, 19 and 20-year-old boys. It's a great feeling."
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Saturday night's win over West Coast meant a little more for King.
In his 16th game, the athletic key forward finally tasted his first win for the club since being its No.6 draft pick at the end of 2018.
It had been a long wait for everyone at the Suns as they snapped a 19-game losing streak with the surprise 44-point win, but for King it was important to break the duck.
"It was really special. I wasn't sweating on it too much but it was a great feeling of relief when the siren went and I got my first win so I was really happy," the 19-year-old said.
"It was a really positive feel heading into the game and we had a really clear game-plan about how we were going to attack it. Our last month's been really good so we were really confident going into it.
"We can take a lot of confidence that when we execute our game-plan properly it stacks up against the really quality sides."
King is a vital part of Gold Coast's plans – for 2020 and beyond.
After breaking into the Suns' side in the middle of last year, he finished with 17 goals from 14 games, including three games of three or more goals in his last five appearances of the season.
He took seven marks against an experienced Eagles defence last week and says he spent the off-season, and then the COVID-19 break, concentrating on improving his strength.
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"My main focus was putting on size and strength and improving my body work in the contest. It felt like when I got a run and jump at the ball I was strong, but you can't always do that against big, stronger bodies, so that's been a main focus," he said.
"I felt like I showed glimpses last year but fell in and out of games a bit, so it's just been about trying to put quality football together for longer periods of time."