AFL legend’s Saints snub mystery

Wayward Saints goalkicker Max King was set to learn from one of the best of all time, until the club inexplicibly pulled the plug.

Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd says he has “no issues” with St Kilda if it chose to cancel his planned private goalkicking session with misfiring Saint Max King.

Lloyd on Monday night confirmed King had sought him out for advice after the young Saint’s well-documented haul of 1.5 against Geelong in Round 9.

As first reported by the Herald Sun, Lloyd and King had planned to meet up for a goalkicking session where the Bombers great would film and coach King to help fix his kicking woes this season.

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But addressing the Herald Sun report on 3AW’s Sportsday on Monday night, Lloyd, who previously coached King during his junior football years at Haileybury College, said the session was called off the night before it was due to take place.

“Max got in touch with me after the 1.5 game against Geelong,” Lloyd confirmed on 3AW Sportsday.

“I said ‘I’m willing to do anything we can to get you going’ … (But) I actually said to Max: ‘The last thing I’d want is for you to do a hamstring or anything like that having a kick with me. So go and get this ticked off by your footy club. But on Wednesday, if you want to have a kick, let’s have a kick.

“When he went and spoke to them (the Saints), they said ‘we’d prefer to keep it internal’.”

But Lloyd stressed: “I’ve got no issues at all. That’s just a decision that St Kilda have made.”

Days before the session was called off, Lloyd publicly detailed how King could improve his inaccurate set-shot kicking for goal, suggesting he needed to generate more momentum through his run-up so he stopped leaning back and, consequently, spraying his attempts. Lloyd also said King should be filmed so he and coaches could see where he was going wrong.

King had previously been working on his goalkicking with Saints assistant coach Jarryd Roughead and club head of football program David Rath

Saints football boss Simon Lethlean told the Herald Sun King held discussions with people at the club before his planned catch-up with Lloyd. After those discussions, it was deemed King would “try to keep it to the one source” when taking advice on his kicking.

However Lethlean stressed the club wouldn’t stop a King-Lloyd session from going ahead, telling the Herald Sun: “Max can do what he wants, he’s his own person.”

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy said he “didn’t blame them (the Saints) in some respects” because players don’t need “two or three masters”.

“If ‘Roughy’ is actually working with him, you don’t want two masters. But I think on the counter to that, if what is happening isn’t working and you’ve had a history with him, I’d be surprised why they wouldn’t go down that path.”

Healy said King, who’s kicked 4.15 from his past six games and 13.21 overall this season, looked “incredibly down on confidence” to the point where he almost needed a rest.

But Lloyd said the Saints were unlikely to do that for this weekend’s clash against Sydney, considering they have the bye in Round 13.

“I know in my conversations, I’ve said to him: ‘There’s not one player or one forward in the game who hasn’t been through what you’ve been through,’” Lloyd said.

“Max isn’t getting the ball he’d like either so I just said to him: ‘Keep throwing yourself at marks, keep going for that next shot’ – and he’s a pretty confident guy in that regard. He’s not playing with a lot of confidence, but he’s got that mindset that he wants to keep going at the ball and even if he misses, sobeit.

“He probably hasn’t (been launching at the footy), in my opinion in the last couple of weeks.”

Lloyd said he was confident King’s fortunes would soon flip.

“I’ve said to other players, not just Max: ‘I’ve had six bad ones in a row and you lay a great tackle and then you do a smother and then suddenly a ball starts bouncing your way when it didn’t bounce your way (previously)’. It’s amazing,” Lloyd said.

“You get told early in your career ‘things are between the ears’ and you don’t believe them. But it’s amazing how much is between the ears.

“That’s where he’s at at the moment.”

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