Ben King has built strong relationships on the Gold Coast. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/Getty
Ben King has built strong relationships on the Gold Coast. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/Getty

The pact that sealed King’s Suns fate

BEN King says his Gold Coast contract extension is part of a pact between the struggling AFL club's rising stars to stick together to ensure future success.

It was widely accepted King would return to Melbourne to link with his twin brother Max at St Kilda but the promising key forward said he never really contemplated leaving the Suns.

"It was always Gold Coast for me," said King, with the deal locking him in until the end of the 2022 season.

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"I'm really confident in the young list that we're building, so to be able to put an extra two years on my contract, I'm excited with what's to come."

While the Suns have lost Jaeger O'Meara, Dion Prestia, Tom Lynch and Steven May since 2016, King's retention continues a turning of the tide.

 

His commitment follows the re-signing this year of fellow draftee Izak Rankine and youngsters Ben Ainsworth and Jack Bowes.

Richmond's dual premiership defender Brandon Ellis has also signed a five-year deal at the wooden spooners.

The 19-year-old said the youngsters, as well as his flatmate Jack Lukosius, had formed a tight bond in Queensland.

"We're forming a really tight young group and I think Izak Rankine started it with his re-signing," King said.

"We all discussed that if we all stayed together it's going to be really exciting for the future."

Ben King. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/Getty
Ben King. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/Getty

The 2018 No.6 draft pick, who has played 14 games and earned a Rising Star nomination, was chased by other AFL clubs, as well as St Kilda.

He said he talked through his future with Max, who through injury is yet to debut, and his brother backed his decision.

"We talked about that sort of stuff a fair bit and he took it really well and was happy for me to sign on," King said.

"Playing with Max isn't really on my mind at the moment, I'm more just thinking about Gold Coast over the next few years."

Suns chief executive Mark Evans said King's extension was a show of faith in the future of the club, who only managed three wins for the season to finish last.

He said the club undertook a reset at the end of the 2018 season and invested heavily in their football department in order to retain their top talent.

"It might have been one of the most speculated contract extensions that I've seen for a young player, so we are pleased that we can get it done well ahead of the 2020 season," Evans said of King.

"This year we've had 15 players sign on and to me that's a sign of the belief and commitment that's required to take the club forward."

The AFL has granted the Suns a rescue package which includes the first two picks at this year's national draft.