Toby Sexton was only just starting school when Brad Davis became a Gold Coast legend.
Steering Tweed to their maiden victory in the 2007 Queensland Cup decider, the nifty halfback made his debut in Titans colours the following year and played six games for the club, as well as continuing to apply his craft just south of the border.
'I want to cement my spot in the team' - Sexton
Finishing up his career as the Seagulls' most prolific points scorer of all time, he went on to mentor the next generation of Gold Coast talent at Palm Beach Currumbin.
This is where he took young Sexton under his wing.
Some 15 years later, the Currumbin Eagles junior is reaping the rewards of Davis' guidance and counsel through his time at school, especially with the former Gold Coast playmaker in the Titans coaching staff to help his young protégé make the No. 7 jersey his own.
"We came through school together. He was my coach in Grade 10 and really helped me out in open’s," Sexton said.
"He’s been a massive factor in my development and to have him full-time here, it’s unreal, and I definitely turn to him for advice and all the little things that I can work on."
Much like his mentor, the 20-year-old Currumbin Eagles junior was a star in the Tweed jersey that Davis made famous; playing deep into September in last year's Intrust Super Cup, as he learned the intricacies of playing at the elite level.
"It was good, especially given we played finals as well," Sexton said.
"It’s the toughest arena to play in, especially as a halfback.
"There’s a lot precious situations and I felt I took a lot out of it that I can take into this season.
"There were a lot of good players at Tweed as well. I got to play with a few boys that I played with all year and we had a lot of fun there.
"It was sad that we didn’t get to go all the way, but from an individual perspective, I thought I took a lot out of it that I can take into 2022."
Making his debut in Round 19 and playing four games in his maiden season last year, the young half admits he can't remember much of running out at Cbus Super Stadium for the first time, given the whirlwind of emotions.
But he used every moment in his short taste-test of first grade to prepare for the future.
"You work so hard to get to that point [of debuting]. It was crazy," Sexton said.
"I don’t really remember much from my debut to be honest, but for everything to happen the way it did, it was pretty cool, and I took a lot of confidence out of it.
"I ended up playing four games and I learned a lot from it, especially in the loss against the Rabbits. We got touched up in that game, but I probably took more out of it that game than I did my first three, and I’m really excited for what’s ahead."
The young playmaker is looking forward to joining the exciting, new spine with fellow Gold Coast juniors Jayden Campbell and AJ Brimson, given his close relationship with the pair.
"I’ve played a bit of footy with JC and obviously AJ has played for Queensland. is an unreal player and played all his junior footy at five-eighth, so I think it’s going to be a pretty easy transition," Sexton said.
"We’re all pretty good mates which makes it easy... also with Tanah and Erin fighting it out for the No. 9 too.
With the ultimate goal to keep the No. 7 jersey on his back long-term, Sexton is also hoping to buy his first house on the Gold Coast by the end of this season.
"I just want to cement my spot in the team and constantly add value to the team in any way I can," Sexton said.
"It’s an exciting bunch of boys this group and we’ve got so many good young kids coming through as well.
"It’s a really exciting time for us and I think our expectations are growing everyday and we want to be playing finals footy at the end of the year.
"Off the field, I want to try and buy my first house by the end of the year and all the little things that is going to add to my performance."