By Michael Whiting www.afl.com.au
WHEN Alex Sexton makes his debut against the Western Bulldogs in Darwin on Saturday night, Gold Coast fans will have two reasons to cheer.
Not only will they see the unveiling of another promising teenager, but Sexton is also the first player to come from the Suns Academy to make the big time.
After starring for Queensland at the Under-16 AFL Championships in 2010, the fledgling Suns locked Sexton into their talent academy.
The following year he played in the Queensland Under-18s, toured Europe with the AIS/AFL Academy, and was a regular ‘top-up’ player for the Suns’ reserves in the NEAFL.
Sexton was then taken by Gold Coast as a pre-listed local talent access selection prior to the draft and will complete his Academy-to-AFL journey on Saturday night.
“I was going in to have a look at my edits to play NEAFL footy and got called in to be told I was having my first crack at it this weekend,” Sexton said.
“I didn’t think I’d be playing this early but I’m absolutely stoked. Hopefully it’s the start of what I’m hoping will be a big career.”
Sexton, 18, moved to Brisbane from Melbourne with his family four years ago.
He played juniors – and a couple of senior games – at lower level Springwood Football Club before switching to NEAFL club Redland last year where he juggled time between them and the Suns.
Sexton got a taste of senior action in the NAB Cup this year and his rugged, combative nature was a feature.
However he said it was a move from the midfield to defence in recent weeks that had helped his game improve.
“A lot of players can attack and want to attack, and it’s just a mindset I’ve got to start getting now to play both ways and that’s been a huge focus at the club,” he said.
“It was a surprise when I went back but I love it down there now, you can really adapt your game down there.”
Sexton said his parents and his two younger sisters would make the journey to Darwin to see his debut against a Bulldogs team he was highly impressed with.
“They’ve had some good wins this year and have hit some form,” he said.
“Coming off a loss last week we have to get up and have a crack at these blokes. The message is just to stay positive this week and if we do that with some effort hopefully we can come away with a win.”
Michael Whiting covers Gold Coast news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting