Sexton over frustrations and fit and firing with Suns
GOLD Coast midfielder Alex Sexton is making an early case for being the AFL's most improved player in 2016.
The 22-year-old Queenslander is finally getting the best out of a body that had been plagued by a hip complaint and was then forced to undergo surgery on a shoulder during his first few years in the system.
Suffice to say, the Redland product wants to keep it that way. "I don't like to talk about my injuries," he tells Australian Regional Media with a laugh. "I'm moving past them now."
Confined to 37 games between 2012-2015, and averaging less than 10 possessions a match, a fitter, stronger Sexton topped 20 for the first time in a match in the Suns' round-one win over Essendon (23), and then collected another 25 in the victory over Fremantle, alongside Aaron Hall and Gary Ablett through the middle.
"It has been a bit of a frustrating start to my career," he said. "But, I've had the full pre-season - it's probably been the biggest pre-season I've completed since I've been at the Suns. I've now got confidence in my body running out there every week."
Sexton, who was able to complete a "massive block in the gym, which had been the main focus of pre-season", paid tribute to the club's new fitness gurus, high-performance manager Justin Cordy from the Bulldogs and strength and conditioning coach Zane Leonard from Super Rugby franchise Melbourne Rebels.
Sexton says they have made "some serious changes to pretty much every player on our list". "The individual programs are specific to you as a player and your position," he said.
The off-field work appears to be paying off on the field, the Suns aiming for a third straight win to start 2016 when they host Carlton (0-2) tonight after the landmark win out west.
"Definitely the win (against Fremantle) is up there with one of the best moments I've had at the club," Sexton said.
"It's very hard to go over to Perth and knock over a quality side like that. We take massive confidence from that as a group.
"We were able to withstand the fightbacks they had throughout the game… hold them off and keep scoring ourselves. Our resilience was a major factor.
"We've got confidence that if we play our brand of footy, our best footy, we can beat anyone.
"It doesn't come without effort though. We've just got to keep backing it up. The win means nothing if we don't back it up this week."
The Suns have made one change to the side, young Callum Ah Chee making way for veteran recruit Matt Rosa (calf).
SUNS V BLUES
Metricon Stadium, 7.25pm
Also: Saints v Magpies 1.45pm, Tigers v Crows 2.10pm, Swans v Giants 4.35pm, Eagles v Dockers 7.40pm