While Alex Sexton was the older brother on his way to the AFL, it was younger sister Hannah who dominated the family home growing up.
Long before the Alex entered the rigours of the elite competition, he had to contend with what seemed to be Hannah’s endless supply of energy.
Therefore it’s no surprise to see Hannah follow in her brother’s footsteps and feature in an exhibition game for the Suns earlier in the year.
“There are no words to describe Hannah, especially early days. We were always in the backyard, you couldn’t split us up. We were inseparable which is probably why we’re so close today,” Sexton tells Aflplayers.com.au.
“But she was crazy. She was full on, 100 miles an hour which is probably why we had so much fun growing up because she wanted to do all this stuff and probably got me in most of my trouble.
“There’s stories of when we were kids and I’d be sitting there and she would just come through like a tornado and I’d end up crying because I wanted to be left alone. She always wanted to do something or take something of mine.
“We actually started playing footy at the same time – I think it was a mixed under-8s comp. I never got to play with her though being two years older but as soon as the game finishes, you run out there and have a kick anyway.
“She was crazy on the field too. She wanted to do all the tackling and we’d have to say to her ‘look Hannah, we can’t tackle yet – we’re only seven years old’. We had to wear helmets back then but she’d always have her’s off.”
Not long after becoming a teenager, the Sextons’ moved from suburban Melbourne to Queensland and despite some strange initial living arrangements, everything was going along as normal.
“She wanted to do all the tackling and we’d have to say to her ‘look Hannah, we can’t tackle yet – we’re only seven years old’” – Alex Sexton
But having already fallen in-love with a round-ball sport, Sexton soon found his sliding doors moment.
“When I first got here, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do to be honest because I loved basketball as well and played that at club level. I tossed up between the two sports because I loved them both.
“We lived with my aunty and uncle at the time – that was a mad house, I think there was eight or nine of us under one roof – and my cousin Jack was going down to the Springwood Football Club and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I ended up going down with him and signed up that afternoon.
“I loved it and am pretty happy he dragged me down there in the end.”
It didn’t take long for Sexton to show some talent but he was never really sure of his capabilities, that was until he received a phone call that would effectively change his life.
“A football career didn’t really cross my mind at that stage, it was an out of the blue call really to even make the Queensland squad. I still remember the day – I was finishing training at Springwood and got the call seeing if I was keen to come down, so all of that happened really quickly.
“I was only 16 and was entering my first year of under-18s for Springwood and obviously I told them I was keen as. It was after the under-16s carnival so I was just expecting things to go back to normal, go back to school and play club footy, but to get a phone call like that is pretty crazy.
“From that stage onward that’s when I knew that I wanted to give this a crack.”
Fast forward to the 2011 draft and Sexton was reasonably assured the Suns were going to take him as a zone selection. He ended up being selected by Gold Coast with the third-last pick in the national draft at number 88 overall.
Following his first summer as an AFL footballer and being involved with a young team, the then 18-year-old was ready to make his debut. Darwin was the venue and the Bulldogs were the opponent but despite his many years playing in Queensland weather, the greasy conditions still required extra accessories.
“I remember having a glove and a sweatband in my debut and haven’t worn any of those since. Everyone was wearing a glove because it was so dewy and it was a night game. We didn’t get the win but the whole build up to my first game was the highlight of my career.”
Now injury-free and more than 50 games into his AFL journey, the 22-year-old is playing what he calls a breakout year. And just as we’re beginning to see the best from Sexton it might not be long until we see the female version wreaking havoc on an AFL field too.