MVPs of 2014: Aidan Sezer
In every great pairing there needs to be a good straight man: Bud Abbott to Lou Costello; Dean Martin to Jerry Lewis; Jerry Seinfeld to George Costanza; Brian to Stewie in Family Guy.
At the Gold Coast Titans, while crowds go into hysterics at the unpredictability and flashiness of Albert Kelly, it was the man standing outside him, Aidan Sezer, who makes sure the stage is set in such a manner that enables Kelly to perform his magic act.
Such was the manner in which Sezer and Kelly combined in their first season together in 2013 it was easy to forget sometimes that at the start of last season they were a pair of 21-year-olds who had been handed the keys to their very own NRL team.
Since being named five-eighth in the Toyota Cup Team of the Year in 2010 while playing for the Bulldogs, Sezer has always conducted himself as a young man wise beyond his years. He made the decision to seek an NRL opportunity on the Gold Coast and was handed his first grade debut in Round 7 of his first season at the club.
But with no Scott Prince at the Titans and Kelly handed a career lifeline after pre-season training had begun, coach John Cartwright had to put all his faith in his belief that Sezer had the temperament and skill set to get the job done.
And he didn't let him down.
Sezer and Kelly finished level with 10 try assists each, many of Sezer's coming off his left boot that was just as accurate in the field of play as it was from the kicking tee. He kicked 75 goals from 88 attempts at a success rate of 85.23 per cent and often landed cross-field kicks on a dime for the likes of David Mead and Kevin Gordon.
That left boot also proved to be the match-winner in his side's Round 9 win over the Dragons, a field goal all that separated the two teams after 80 minutes. The significant aspect to that particular field goal was that it wasn't a rushed shot in the dying seconds of the game; Sezer's calm head came to the fore and he slotted it with 14 minutes still to play.
You imagine he's the type of person who when he goes to the shops, just pulls into the first car park he finds rather than doing laps around every level looking for the perfect spot.
He shoulders much of the responsibility for the Titans' kicking game, his 264 kicks last year only behind Jarrod Mullen, Cooper Cronk, Luke Walsh and Adam Reynolds for total kicks in the NRL, further underlying his importance to the Titans.
With so many of the squad involved with the Rugby League World Cup at the end of 2013, Sezer was thrust into a leadership role when training began and co-captain Greg Bird, for one, believes he and Kelly are ready to further develop their games in 2014.
"We had a lot of young blokes last year and I think those young guys, especially in the halves, gained a lot of experience out of that season," Bird said. "Hopefully they can take more of a leadership role in the halves now."
If the Titans can play deep into September Sezer will have played a critical role but, like all good straight men, he's unlikely to be the one receiving the plaudits.