By Peter Blucher
Alex Sexton has had a massive few days. And it’s only going to get bigger and better.
Last Friday the 25-year-old Gold Coast forward signed a four-year contract extension that locks him into the club until the end of 2023, and on Sunday he played a pivotal role in the Suns’ fantastic win over Fremantle at Metricon Stadium.
Today he finds himself as an unlikely leader of the 2019 Coleman Medal race.
And next Sunday he will post his 100th AFL game.
Sexton will be the 13th player overall and the third Queenslander behind Jarrod Harbrow and Rory Thompson to play 100 games for the SUNS when they visit Marvel Stadium on Sunday to play the Western Bulldogs.
Added to the Suns leadership group this year and saluted at Metricon for the outstanding contribution he has made to the club since Stuart Dew has taken charge, Sexton will go into his milestone game in career-best form.
He is coming off an equal club record nine scoring shots against the Dockers on Sunday to equal the effort of Tom Lynch (8.1 in 2018), Charlie Dixon (7.2 in 2015) and Harley Bennell (6.3 in 2014).
And as much as he would want to find the big sticks a little more regularly than his 4.5 haul against Fremantl,e Dew isn’t going to complain if he’s hitting the scoreboard with that sort of regularity.
He kicked three of the Suns’ first four goals against Fremantle, and kicked their second-last late in the fourth quarter below David Swallow kicked the winner.
Sexton, picking up where he left off when he topped the Suns’ goal kicking and finished fifth in the best and fairest last year, hasn’t surprised anyone at the Gold Coast but has been one of the big surprise packets among southern critics.
With a two-round total of 8.5, he leads with 13 from Jeremy Cameron (11) and de Goey (10).
The former All-Australian at Under 18 representative level, taken as a Queensland zone selection by the SUNS at their end of their first season in the AFL, has taken a little while to reach the same lofty heights of his junior career.
He played never more than 14 games in any of his first four seasons, but has played 18, 20 and 22 across the past three years.
Having filled a variety of roles in the early part of his career, he has settled down as a roaming forward and has become a reliable weapon for coach Dew.
Another Queensland milestone that crept by almost without mention last week was Lachy Keeffe’s 50th game for the GIANTS.
The former Collingwood utility posted his half-century seven and half years after his AFL debut as a 21-year-old in Round 16 2011.
The Gympie product has outlasted two-thirds of his Collingwood side from his debut – only Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom and Ben Reid are still playing with the Pies, while Heath Shaw, Dale Thomas and Alex Fasolo are playing elsewhere.