ALEX Davies is a rangy, inside ball-winning midfielder, but in his only game following the COVID-19 shutdown period, displayed another attribute that could be just as important at AFL level.
The Gold Coast Academy product showed he could play with injury.
Playing for Broadbeach in the senior QAFL competition, the 18-year-old ruptured two ligaments in his elbow in the opening five minutes against Mt Gravatt. He played the game out.
It was only later that week Davies raised the issue with the club's physio and was ruled out for the remainder of the shortened season.
"I didn't tell anyone I hurt my elbow until a few days later, because I thought I was fine," Davies told AFL.com.au.
"I kept waking up in my sleep, so I told the physio and got an MRI and found out it was ruptured.
"I couldn't use my left arm. I couldn't do much in the midfield, couldn't tackle or win a contested ball. I knew something was wrong, I just didn't know how bad it was."
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Davies is available to be pre-selected by the Suns ahead of the NAB AFL Draft, meaning the club won't have to match a bid for him under their list concessions from the AFL. He'll be added directly to the club's primary list.
He hails from Cairns in Far North Queensland, where current Gold Coast players Jarrod Harbrow, Jack Bowes and Caleb Graham also come from.
Harbrow's brother Marc coached Davies in his junior years.
Davies had an excellent underage career, representing Queensland at both under-17 and under-18 level, but only after choosing footy over basketball.
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Through his early teenage years, the 191cm midfielder was part of the Cairns Taipans Academy, training five days a week with the round ball.
But when the opportunity to move south as a 16-year-old and finish his schooling on the Gold Coast was presented, Davies pounced.
He had been part of Gold Coast's Academy program since the age of 12, but this would take it to another level and heighten his chances of playing in the AFL.
"I preferred basketball with the aircon in Cairns – it was much easier to train," he laughed.
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"I went as far as I could with basketball until I had to make a decision.
"Any kid from North Queensland would want to live on the Gold Coast.
"It was a pretty easy decision. I loved the footy environment a lot more, so I chose the footy pathway.
"There's heaps more kids like me playing rugby league and other sports and I think the Academy has helped a lot of people switch codes.
"It makes it a lot easier, you're already in a semi-professional environment the way they run it.
"I'm not going to lie, it was tough getting used to everything when I first moved down, but once I settled down I loved it, it was definitely the right decision."
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Although the youngster says "nothing is set in stone", if the Suns select Davies as expected he has a head start, having already trained with the club and getting to know the players, coaching staff and administration.
After suffering from shin splints that kept him out of the AFL Combine, he is almost back to 100 per cent fitness.