Half-Century for Sexton. By Peter Blucher.
It’s an anomaly in the AFL system that Alex Sexton is officially listed as the 88th player chosen in the 2011 National Draft.
His name has the letters “LT” attached to it in official records, denoting he was a Local Talent selection. Or, in everyday football language, a zone priority pick.
Under the AFL expansion rules the Suns had first rights to the Springwood junior and Redland senior player.
Because the Suns wanted him and because Sexton was happy to go there the deal done well in advance of the draft.
He is only listed at No.88 in draft records because at the time there was no mechanism for rival clubs to challenge this – as there is now.
If there was then Sexton would certainly have been drafted much earlier. Quite probably in an open draft he was a first-round choice.
It’s been a big windfall for the Suns, with the 22-year-old utility now firmly entrenched in the top side and set for a long and fruitful career.
He will add another line to his burgeoning CV with his 50th appearance against the Western Bulldogs in Cairns on Saturday night.
The 51st player to wear the red and yellow of the Suns at AFL level, he will be the 21st player and the fifth Queenslander to reach 50 games.
Queenslanders ahead of him on the games list are club record-holder Jarrod Harbrow (108), Rory Thompson (72), Zac Smith (65) and Charlie Dixon (65).
Sexton will be the youngest Queenslander to play 50 games for the Suns, and but for injury would have reached his half century a lot earlier.
After six games in his debut season in 2012 and four games in 2013, he added 14 in 2014 and 13 last year. This year he’s played 12 of a possible 15, missing three with a broken arm.
Highly rated by coach Rodney Eade because of his ability and willingness to play a variety of roles, he is averaging a career-high 15.8 possessions per game this year and, with 11 goals, is fifth on the club goal-kicking list behind Tom Lynch (48), Peter Wright (19), Brandon Matera (15) and Jack Martin (12).
The Sexton half-century will be another highlight for the 2011 Queensland U18 side, coached by David Ashkar, of which he was a member.
Also in that side were Josh Smith and Josh Wagner, who have been elevated from the rookie lists at Collingwood and North Melbourne respectively to play regular AFL football, plus Suns teammate Clay Cameron, Collingwood’s Adam Oxley, and Essendon top-up player Sam Michael.
Members of the Class of 2011 who also played AFL football but are no longer with AFL clubs were Jackson Allen and Andrew Boston (Gold Coast), Peter Yagmoor (Collingwood) and Tom Fields (Carlton).
In Queensland news to emerge from selection last night as Brendan Whitecross made a fantastic return to AFL football for Hawthorn against Sydney:-
- Daniel Merrett’s march towards 200 games this year was left without any margin for error when he was forced out of the Brisbane side for Sunday’s Gabba clash with Greater Western Sydney with illness. He will now need to play the last six games of the season to reach his double century. Ben Keays and Liam Dawson, named on an extended interchange squad to be trimmed by three on Friday night, were among the inclusions on a Lions bench that includes five Queenslanders – Keays, Dawson, Eric Hipwood, Matthew Hammelmann and Reuben William.
- Josh Wagner was named on the extended Melbourne bench after two weeks out with a knee injury for Sunday’s Etihad Oval clash with St.Kilda.
- Sam Michael was omitted from the Essendon side for Saturday afternoon’s MCG clash with Richmond.
- Clay Cameron was named as an emergency for the Gold Coast ahead of their visit to Cairns to meet the Western Bulldogs.