The 2018 National Draft saw the Suns gain three picks inside the top six following the departure of co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May after the club finished 17th and officially went back into rebuild mode.

Ben King was called two picks after brother Max at Pick 6, which the club had received after May opted to be traded to the Demons rather than extend his contract, with the lesser-rated King twin having spent most of his draft year playing an exemplary season in his brother's position of full forward at school, NAB League and National Championships level after spending his junior career at full-back.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese refugee and erstwhile Brisbane Lions Academy member Mabior Chol was playing VFL for the resurgent Richmond, suddenly behind star recruit Tom Lynch, ironically the Suns' other wantaway captain, but could only manage 31 games across six seasons, featuring as a ruck-forward with Lynch and Jack Riewoldt forming the competition's most deadly forward duo. 

The pair couldn't have come from different backgrounds. King came through the blue-chip Haileybury program under the guidance of Bombers legend Matthew Lloyd and the Sandringham Dragons with current Suns assistant coach Jackson Kornberg.

Meanwhile, Chol had been taken as a raw recruit out of then NEAFL side Aspley Hornets and was being developed by a Richmond club in the midst of a dynasty. 

In late 2021, the Gold Coast tall forward stocks were already thin, with Peter Wright having failed to forge a dominant pairing with the young King and being salary dumped after a frustrating COVID-19-impacted year as an eternal emergency, while Sam Day was somewhat brittle from successive injury-interrupted seasons.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Ben King of the Suns competes for the ball during the round 9 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium on May 15, 2021 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Chris Burgess, who had been a revelation as a make-shift ruckman, was shaping as the man to pair with King up forward with fellow 2018 top pick Jack Lukosius also ready to move up from the backline. 

With Richmond having already previously re-rookied Chol, he came to the Suns in free agency after the end of his contract, while talent director Craig Cameron and his team pulled off a coup by getting involuntarily-retired Levi Casboult to agree to be drafted. 

King's ACL essentially prompted the Suns to go into the season with yet another unfamiliar forward line combination, but Chol and Casboult jelled wonderfully to become one of the better pairings of tall forwards in the competition. 

Casboult started the season in vintage form, in fact, his goalkicking and pack-marking were better than ever, while Chol began to find opportunities on the second tall defender and increasingly gained confidence in broken play. 

However, with the return of King, who is arguably the player the Suns will be looking to build the team around in the coming seasons, who out of Chol and Casboult will partner King and Lukosius in the Suns' forward line in 2023? 

Casboult has a strong case, particularly given the example of Ben's twin Max and his struggles to emerge as an elite primary target in the forward 50 without another strong key forward to take away defensive pressure. Yet lightning striking twice with the former Carlton tall might be asking too much, especially considering his late-season fade.  

Chol appears to be the natural choice after putting together a dominant, if at times streaky, 22 games as the Suns' number one forward, as he averaged two goals a game and ably chopped out in the ruck for Jarrod Witts

The question is whether Chol and King are too alike and the case for each argument is very strong. Both are tall, athletic movers, often scrounging goals after the ball has hit the deck and running in support of teammates in broken play. Neither is elite at pack marking, despite both being able to take brilliant marks within scoring distance.  

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Mabior Chol of the Suns celebrates kicking a goal during the round 20 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the West Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium on July 31, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Remarkably, both key forwards are on 53 games, although King got there in three seasons while Chol took seven, while both have five goal bags and several four goals performances, with King breaking out with a match-winning performance against Adelaide in 2020 and Chol showing his true ability with a sensational game for the Tigers against the ladder-leading Lions at the Gabba in 2021.  

King is by no means a ruckman, only rarely attending stoppages and even then only close to goals, while Chol can halve the contest against quality opposition and continue to fight for the ball at ground level. 

Both are elite leading forwards, which if deployed effectively and utilised properly, have the potential to be a duo that could carve up opposition defences, while also causing chaos at the fall of the ball and freeing each other up to lead further downfield without leaving the forward line bereft of a tall target.  

The slow burn of Chol and rapid, if interrupted, rise of King have them both at a very similar stage in their careers, with the pair having almost identical seasons comparatively in 2022 and 2021 with 44.27 goals and 47.25 respectively, a total that combined would have put them among the top pairings of 2022 ahead of formidable peers. 

Then there is the prospect of three tall forwards, with the club suddenly bursting at the seams with AFL standard candidates. King is the first picked, if fit, while Casboult and Day are dependable veterans, then there is the continued development of Lukosius and VFL leading goalkicker Burgess. 

With the options of Chol plus the electric Joel Jeffrey, Stuart Dew and his staff have no end of combinations to try out, but with an abbreviated pre-season, this story will inevitably play out well into the most promising Gold Coast Suns season ever. 

Then there is the highly rated Jed Walter being predicted as a top-10 prospect from the Suns' Academy coming through the ranks, eligible to be drafted in November.