The career of Alex Sexton is an interesting one.
He’s considered one of the hidden gems of the 2011 AFL draft, picked up with selection 88 out of Logan just 30 minutes north of the Gold Coast.
Fast forward to now and Sexton currently sits third on the all-time SUNS games record holders list and second in the club’s all-time goalkicking, earning him a place in the official Team of the First Decade announced earlier this year.
He’s a through and through SUNS player who is always working to improve his game.
That’s why when he was left out of the AFL team for three weeks as the medical substitute, it didn’t deter him from working hard to earn his chance again.
“I went back to the VFL and got some confidence that one week and then it was about coming back into the side and delivering on my role which was important to me,” Sexton told SUNS Media.
“I just needed to get back to myself as a player and what it looks like.
“The rest of stuff like hitting the scoreboard comes off the back of high pressure and intensity and my work-rate.
“I’m building on my all-round game to get back to playing the football I know I can.”
It’s easy to judge a forward based on how many goals they kick.
But sometimes that’s an unfair indicator of performance for a player like Sexton who bases his game off a high work-rate.
When the game is being played in your defensive half it can be difficult to find ways to impact the game as a small forward, but Sexton believes it’s important to not become frustrated and have trust in the team.
“I think you just have to stick to our processes because you can't really go outside of our gameplan and we're really big on that here in this football club is just trusting the process,” Sexton said.
“When the moment does swing back in our favour we need to be ready to go inside 50 and that doesn't change whether we are up by 10 goals or down by 10 goals.
“Our mindset as small forwards and forwards doesn't change, we just have to be ready and play our role and stick to our game plan and trust that when it does swing, we’re ready.”
On the flip side, Sexton’s role is also responsible for finishing off the good work of his teammates.
He says cohesion and teamplay are the most important factors to helping him perform at his best in the forward line.
“I think we're all links in the chain,” Sexton said.
“I think when we are sticking to our game style and the way we want to play, and then bringing that contested side which we base our whole football style off, I think everyone comes into the game.
“We're all in this side for a reason and when we start to go outside of that, that's when things start to break down for individuals.
“We don’t really like to talk about it on an individual basis, but in a team sense when we execute our plans it does bring in everyone's strengths which is how we want to play.”
Despite not holding a formal role this season, Sexton continues to act as an important leader in the forward 50.
He’s closing in on his 150th game (currently 143), and 150th goal (currently 138), which could be huge achievements this season for the 27-year-old.
But of more importance to the goalsneak is this weekend, as the SUNS look to come home from Perth with a win over Fremantle.
“We’ve freshened up, the bye was a chance to reset physically and mentally,” he said.
“We’re really, really keen for this weekend, it’s about building off our last win.
“We get a crack to go west and do it again which we're really excited about, to be traveling.”