THERE has to be something in the water at the Brayshaws'.

Having married former Claremont and North Melbourne player Mark and raising four boys of her own (including three AFL players) in three different states, Debra Brayshaw has been no stranger to football.

If that wasn't enough, thrown in with previous boarding stints from former Roos gun Anthony Stevens and Melbourne dynamo Clayton Oliver, Debra and Mark have now opened their doors to the Demons' next wave of young talent.

At the start of 2020, and with all four of their boys out of home, the Brayshaws took on Melbourne draftees Luke Jackson, Kozzy Pickett and Trent Rivers at the request of the club.

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Feisty Brayshaw nabs older bro

Dinner table bragging rights for Andrew after a strong tackle and free kick against older brother Angus

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While Pickett moved out at the end of the year, Jackson and Rivers remain, with the young trio driving the future of the club with an unbeaten start to 2021.

"We've actually had a really good track record with the boys we've had with us," Debra told AFL.com.au this week ahead of Mother's Day on Sunday. 

After an impressive start to life in the WAFL in the 1980s including the 1989 flag, Mark was drafted to Arden Street in 1990, with the newlyweds taking on Stevens, a kid she describes as a "fresh baby from the country".

Mark, the son of Claremont premiership player Ian and older brother of AFL broadcaster James, played 32 games for the Roos across 1990-1992 before a two-year stop back at Claremont in 1993-1994 including another flag. Stints in administration at Fremantle and Port Adelaide followed.

Eldest son Will (who now works in the Defence Force) was joined by Angus (1996), Hamish (1998) and Andy (1999), with the three younger boys supporting teams based on their dad's previous employers (Angus Fremantle, Hamish North Melbourne and Andy Port Adelaide).

Hamish, Angus and Andy Brayshaw

Stints as Richmond chief executive, a director at North Melbourne and AFL Coaches Association boss followed for Mark, all while raising four boys with Debra.

Now, the same checklist that Will, Melbourne's Angus, former West Coast midfielder Hamish and Fremantle's Andy went through has since been handed on – firstly to Oliver and now the Demons youngsters.

"My philosophy was to make the boys as independent as they can be, to move out of home as early as they can," Debra said.

"We were just very fortunate they were able to move out as 18-year-olds. I'd say there wouldn't be many mothers who were fortunate enough to be able to do that, but it meant I had to give them the skills to leave home.

"With the national draft I don't believe you can say I don't want to go interstate, it's a national competition and you need to be able to put your hand up and say 'If I'm lucky enough to be chosen anywhere I'm going with bells on it'.

"It was a checklist, they had to be able to wash, cook and clean so that they were ready. That's what I'm trying to get these boys (Jackson and Rivers) to do so when they move out at the end of the year that they've got a few life skills.

"It's all the basics from 'this is a washing machine', to how you clean a toilet, how you use a peg. They're getting used to the Melbourne driving and the Melbourne cold because they missed out on all of that last year being in the hubs.

"Last year before COVID we had Hello Fresh (food delivery) three nights a week and they each (Pickett, Jackson, Rivers) took a turn of cooking on that particular night. They didn't know how to peel a potato or what a garlic press was, so they've learnt a few things."

A teacher at Hampton Primary School, Debra has also managed two separate trips to WA since borders opened to see her two boys and extended family based in the west. Andy is enjoying a breakout campaign for the Dockers, while Hamish, who was delisted by the Eagles after one game last season, remains working for the club while studying and captaining the Eagles' WAFL side.

Hamish and Andy are yet to cross paths with Jackson and Rivers in their family's Hampton home but are set for a rude awakening.

"W still do have a couple of spare rooms, so they take the spare rooms, their rooms are gone if they come back," Debra quipped.

"Luke's in Hamish's room and Trent's in Andrew's room… it might happen when Essendon play Fremantle in a couple of weeks."

With Mother's Day coming on Sunday, this weekend will be no different for Debra with more football on the cards.

Angus will be joined by Jackson (also last week's NAB AFL Rising Star nominee) and Rivers when the Demons attempt to go eight-straight against Sydney at the MCG on Saturday. Hamish's Eagles travel to play East Fremantle earlier in the afternoon, while Andy and the Dockers head to the Gabba to tackle Brisbane on Sunday.

"When I was back in Perth, the boys were trying to calculate how many games I would've actually seen in my lifetime," Debra said.

"They were joking that it could've been a thousand. Someone said, 'That's ridiculous,' but when you've done all the growing up stuff, times four, it would be pretty close.

"One game I remember vividly in 2019, I had Angus and Andrew playing each other at the MCG and Hamish was being live streamed from Perth and it was raining.

"I was under my rain jacket trying to watch what was happening in Perth and every time you'd look up something great had happened for either team (at the MCG).

"And we love watching all the boys' mates who have been drafted to other clubs. The TV's on the footy non-stop over all weekend."

And what if the Demons come calling for the draft class of 2021?

"Would I do it again? I think I'd have a rest, but you never say never," Debra laughed.