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'Best thing for me': Tweed relegation freshens Sexton's mindset to reclaim No. 7

A candid Toby Sexton has opened up about his recent Hostplus Cup stint, admitting it was the catalyst to finding his love for rugby league again.

Finishing the year with the Tweed Seagulls after a tough first full season as the club's chief linchpin, the return to Cup for his final four games of the season proved to be a godsend for the 21-year-old, returning to pre-season training with a big smile on his face and notebook and pen at the ready to reclaim the Titans' No. 7 jersey.

"Looking at it now, I think it was the best thing for me. It was obviously a massive year and I took a lot out of it but at the same time, it was pretty tough, " the young half revealed.

"Being able to go back to Q Cup where there wasn't that pressure to perform every week, you could just go back to playing footy and enjoying what you do, which was really nice.

"We got to win a few games there as well, which was good too. I didn't experience too many wins last year (at NRL level), so it was nice to finish on that winning feeling."

Toby Sexton in action for Tweed. Photo: Matt Roberts/NRL Images
Toby Sexton in action for Tweed. Photo: Matt Roberts/NRL Images

The biggest and most important element of Sexton's relegation was finding the love for the game again, which he did when got to step foot back on to Piggabeen.

"I think the biggest thing for me was just trying to enjoy my footy again. I think I didn't necessarily lose confidence last year, but I just lost that enjoyment of playing footy," he said.

"I got to go back to Tweed and win a few games and just really enjoy my footy.

"That's probably the biggest thing I took out of that."

Also gratefully appreciating that being a full-time footy player is a pretty rewarding career after spending a few days helping his dad Tony with his lawn-mowing business, the youngster has returned from a seven week break, fresh after a fairly taxing year due to the continual pressure of his first full year in the most scrutinised position on the field.

"It was obviously a massive year physically, but more than anything, mentally," Sexton said.

"There were so many challenges last year and I learned a lot of lessons, but that's in the past now and I'm really looking forward to this year and especially this pre-season.

"Starting from today, I'm really keen to get to work and really build on my game."

'Mentally, I feel so refreshed': Sexton

The young gun will also hope to impart as much knowledge as possible to the up-and-coming Titans who embark on their own new journeys in their first few pre-seasons, as one of over 30 players (contracted and train-and-trial) who returned on Tuesday.

"It's so exciting for them, but I'm sure it'd be pretty daunting at the moment as well coming into an NRL system," Sexton said.

"I was exactly the same when I first came out of school and I had the likes the Nathan Peats and Tyrone Peachey when I started and I was just looking and thinking... 'holy, I can't wait to be in your position one day.'

"They're in that exact position today and it's an exciting time for them. They've come through our junior systems, the Future Titans and now they're in the first grade program and they've got their chance to shine and see what they can do over the next seven weeks.

"I'm pumped to be able to work with them."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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