Elijah Hollands doesn't have to look too far to know how tough chasing the AFL dream can be.
The top draft prospect's father Ben Hollands spent time at Sydney, Richmond and Port Adelaide but only played at AFL level for the Tigers, where he made eight appearances and booted five goals in 1999.
Now the younger Hollands, an explosive forward/midfielder, is leaning on his father's experiences as he prepares to join an AFL club in the first handful of picks in next week's draft.
"He's been a great influence," Hollands said.
"He's been able to share his experiences as he spent time at three AFL clubs and played over 100 games in the SANFL so he's I guess kept me grounded.
"Also he didn't quite have the career that he would have hoped for and I guess something that, unfortunately, he's been able to show me is that the AFL's a serious business.
"You don't just walk in there and get a 10-year career on start-up, so you've got to get in there and take it with both hands."
Hollands tore his ACL back in February but remains rated among the draft's best prospects.
He could even go to Adelaide with their first live pick, having spoken to the Crows and coach Matthew Nicks.
The Crows are expected to bid on Western Bulldogs academy prospect Jamarra Ugle-Hagan with pick No.1, with the Dogs set to immediately match it, sliding Adelaide's pick to No.2, but Hollands remains right in the mix.
"Honestly they've kept their cards pretty close to their chest and I'll just wait and see what happens," he said.
Hollands will watch the draft at home with his family and close friends acutely aware that wherever he lands it'll involve moving away from country Victoria.
The bubbly teenager took full advantage of the opportunity to grow a mullet while rehabilitating his knee in isolation but admits the flowing locks are likely to be gone by the draft.
"I am due for a haircut; that'll come a bit closer to draft day," he said.
"I'll try and sharpen myself up a little bit."
Australian Associated Press