MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Max King of the Saints runs out during the St Kilda pre-season club match at RSEA Park on February 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

St Kilda forward Max King has been ruled out of Round 1 due to the AFL’s new concussion protocol.

Under the new ruling, players who suffer a concussion must be listed as unavailable for a minimum of 12 days – ruling him out for the club’s season opener against Greater Western Sydney.

King suffered the unfortunate injury when playing golf with friends at Brighton public golf course, per The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph.

King was struck in the temple by a stray golf ball by a friend whose shot had shanked so horribly it struck the tall-forward who was standing nearly parallel to his playing partner.

St Kilda Chief Operating Officer Simon Lethlean said the club would absolutely adhere to the AFL’s new strict concussion protocols.

“It’s obviously a blow to lose Max for Round 1, but player health and wellbeing – particularly when it comes to concussion – is paramount,” he said, per the club website.

“We’ll continue to monitor Max over the next week and take every measure necessary to ensure he is on track for Round 2.”

The freak injury only compounds the Saints injury woes with fellow talls Rowan Marshall (foot) and Paddy Ryder (personal reasons) missing the early stages of the season.

The omission of the three talls means recruits Shaun McKernan and Paul Hunter are set to feature for the Saints.

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Hunter was selected in the supplemental selection period – an acquisition which looks like a masterstroke considering the Saints two best ruck options are both sidelined.

Fellow SSP selection and former North Melbourne forward Mason Wood has also come into the spotlight for selection following King’s injury.

McKernan, who impressed in the a pre-season game against Carlton, will provide support for Tim Membrey up forward as cover for King.

St Kilda will also be missing Brad Crouch (suspension), Dan Hannebery (calf), Jarryn Geary (leg), Ben Patton (leg) and James Frawley (hamstring) for the trip to GIANTS Stadium.