A TEXT message from Carlton and West Coast great Chris Judd helped lift draft prospect Max King's spirits after the talented teenager went down with a season-ending knee injury last month.
King, who remains a contender to be the No.1 pick at this year's NAB AFL Draft, tore his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for school side Haileybury College against Geelong Grammar.
The 17-year-old key forward has had surgery to repair the injury, which also included tearing his medial collateral and lateral ligaments.
King, whose twin brother Ben is also a top-five chance at the draft, said he had received plenty of support since the injury, including hearing from Judd.
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"He sent me a text saying he had shoulder reconstructions in his draft year and just gave me some great advice on how to handle that and stay positive because these things do happen but you get over them," King told AFL.com.au's Road to the Draft podcast.
The 201cm King had started his season in scintillating form, kicking 8.5 for the Sandringham Dragons in his first game of the TAC Cup season before the injury struck.
He is part of a group of highly rated talls expected to be at the top end of the draft pool, alongside Jack Lukosius, his brother Ben and ruckman Bailey Williams. But King said as soon as he went down with the injury he knew his season was over.
"It was early in the second quarter and I jumped for a mark and landed awkwardly on my knee. I felt a pop and went down in a fair bit of pain. That's how it happened. I was in shock for a fair bit and hadn't really come to terms with it all, and then it all sunk in. It was a pretty devastating day," he said.
"You go into the season having high hopes for the year and it all came crashing down. But I think once I got over that initial disappointment you move on to rehab and it gets a bit more positive."
King has set himself to build his upper body strength during his time on the sidelines, having seen it as an area he needed to improve before the year begun.
"One of the positives of the injury is I get to get in the gym early and prepare my body for senior football a lot earlier than a lot of other kids do. Four or five months out from the draft I'll be in the gym every day which is a really big positive and will hopefully help me play senior footy as early as I can," he said.
On the day King suffered his knee injury, his brother Ben booted 11 goals in an outstanding marking display in attack.
Max was kept updated with his brother's growing goal tally while in the rooms and, although the pair may have played their last game together, is looking forward to watching him play from a different viewpoint to normal throughout the remainder of 2018.
"I'm really happy I get to watch him, and I really want him to do well as he does for me," he said.