Jack Etwell George SEXTON


Guernsey Number: 1
Career: 1935
NFC Games: 6
NFC Goals: 0
Debut: v West Adelaide (Adelaide) 2nd May 1935
Finale: v West Torrens (Thebarton) 30th May 1935

Norwood Captain: 1935
Norwood Coach: 1935
Magarey Medal: 1931 (West Adelaide)
South Australian Games: 2
VFL/AFL Clubs: Fitzroy


Jack Ettwell George Sexton was born at West Terrace, on February 27, 1907. He played his early football for the Sturt Street school. Playing as a rover, Sexton was captain for three years. He then joined Franklin Street and was named best forward. Sexton later impressed representing the Brunswick club in the Parklands.
He began his league career with Glenelg in 1925. A skilful centreman, he was a good mark, quick over the ground and a strong believer in physical fitness.

Sexton played 47 games for the club, finishing fourth in the 1927 Magarey Medal count. Employed as a tram conductor by the Tramways Department, Sexton struggled to get to training and often worked long hours on Saturday mornings before games. At first, Glenelg reimbursed him when he had to pay someone to do his Saturday afternoon shifts. The payments stopped at the end of the 1929 season and Sexton moved to West Adelaide in 1930. At the Glenelg AGM held on 24 February 1930, Sexton was presented with a Five Year Player's Certificate and a gold medal for his services to the Glenelg Football Club.
Sexton first had to meet his residential qualifications before he could play for West Adelaide and then suffered a leg injury. It was not until 23 August 1930 that he made his debut for his new club but only managing three games for the season.
However he had an outstanding season in 1931, easily winning the Magarey Medal and representing South Australia in their two interstate encounters against Victoria.

The classy Sexton then decided to move to Melbourne and joined the Fitzroy Football Club in 1932. He was quick to settle in at the new club and showed impressive early form. Legendary Haydn Bunton Snr stood down as the Fitzroy captain after the first couple of games, and Sexton took over the captaincy for the next two seasons.

Unfortunately, a broken left ankle sustained against North Melbourne in the first round of the 1933 season forced Sexton out for the remainder of the year. He played another 11 games in 1934, mainly as a defender, and finished with a career total of 29 VFL games. Whilst at Fitzroy he became close friends with Bunton and Doug Nicholls, who later became Governor of South Australia, and No. 1A ticket-holder of the Norwood Football Club. 
Sexton transferred back to Adelaide with his employment in 1935 and was appointed captain-coach of the Norwood Football Club. The team had finished second bottom the previous season, but Sexton transformed the side's performance overnight, with Norwood winning six of the first seven games.

Norwood had four different coaches during the 1935 season : Sexton, Syd Ackland, Eric A Johnson and Tom Woodroofe, but was still able to claim a spot in the finals.
Tragically, Sexton contracted pneumonia/pleurisy in June and was no longer able to play or coach the team. He made a brief recovery late in the season, and was able to attend training, but after a relapse, passed away on 26 October, 1935.  
Plagued by injury and illness, the popular and charismatic Sexton only played 101 games in his 11 years of senior football.
After his death, many functions were conducted in aid of the appeal for his widow and two young children, raising over 500 pounds. On August 23, 1936 a football match to raise money to erect a tombstone on Sexton's grave was played on the Railway Oval, between West Adelaide United and Brunswick.
R Cialini, W Heading Sept 2018

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