IT WAS the lift draft prospects needed.
In the weeks after the season had been paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many draft hopefuls were at a loss.
SMALLER POOL? FUTURE PICKS? How will COVID shake up the draft?
The season that was to shape their future, the year they had set themselves for, had been put on hold with no return in sight.
The AFL's national talent ambassador and long-time draft guru Kevin Sheehan knew players could do with a boost.
The League had planned to give out a copy of the book Champions: Conversations with Great Players and Coaches of Australian Football, authored by AFL.com.au reporter Ben Collins and Dan Eddy, later in the season to all of its state Academy players around the country.
But Sheehan fast-tracked those plans and organised for the books to head out to the nearly 150 prospects, including an individual hand-written messages of support for each, providing a personal touch in a challenging break.
Braeden Campbell, a potential first-round pick at this year's NAB AFL Draft who is tied to Sydney's Academy, said the gift from the AFL buoyed his spirits in a difficult time.
"I've been reading that. I'm about halfway through," Campbell told this week's Road to the Draft podcast.
"It was a good gift at the time because at that time I was unsure as to what the season was going to look like, and I was probably at my lowest, mentally and physically, because I was so shattered about the season.
"But with that gift being sent it was quite motivating and made me push more to achieve my goal."
The book details the careers of some of football's greatest identities and the adversities they have had to face and overcome.
The AFL has all but locked in staging a draft for the 2020 pool of players, but it is unclear if – and when – under-18s matches may resume.
Champions: Conversations with Great Players and Coaches of Australian Football by Ben Collins and Dan Eddy, published by Slattery Media Group, is available at book stores and online.