A special overseas adventure with his close-knit family was the ideal way for George Stevens to re-group ahead of the most important season of his junior footballer career.
The South Warrnambool teenager spent five weeks travelling around the United Kingdom and Europe with dad Sam, mum Natalie and siblings Archie, Matilda and Jimmy after the 2022 season.
It came at the perfect time after the prodigious talent was nearing the end of a gruelling rehabilitation period following a knee reconstruction.
"It was really cool, especially with the timing of my knee," he told The Standard, just days out from the 2023 AFL draft.
"It was straight after the season last year so it was a five-week reset where I went away and just enjoyed things with family and when I returned it was time to get back into it, back as a proper footballer rather than in the rehab."
George has a close bond with his family - sister Matilda, 16, describing him as "one of my favourite people", younger brother Jimmy, 14, trying to emulate his football feats and older brother Archie anointing him his "best friend and best training partner".
"We are a very tight family but that trip expressed that even more and made it more clear," he said.
"To spend five weeks with each other and not get sick of any of them when you're spending 24/7 together, it just shows how close we are.
"You look through the camera roll and you wish you were back there."
The Stevens' had travelled to Vietnam together in 2016 but the European odyssey was "a bucket list item".
Natalie and Sam soaked up the chance to expose their children to different cultures.
"We were conscious that was an opportunity that wasn't going to be around forever and it was a conscious choice to do that at that stage of the kids' lives," Natalie said.
"They are unforgettable memories and we don't take it for granted.
"They feel like once-in-a-lifetime experiences... and we have those magic moments ingrained in all of our hearts.
"There was only a really short period where we could do that - just the six of us - and whether or not that opportunity will ever come again, who knows, probably not."
George took the opportunity to watch another professional sport.
He went with Sam and Archie to a soccer match in France and despite learning a lesson after booking tickets in the rowdy supporters' section, loved the experience.
"I enjoyed the Amalfi Coast (in Italy) but Paris had the touristy more memorable things in terms of seeing the Eiffel Tower, particularly at night, and then we went to the soccer game with PSG (Paris St Germain) and Leo Messi was playing," George said.
"It was a really cool experience to see a different sport but the atmosphere was amazing at that stadium."
George, who will spend the weekend leading up to the draft celebrating girlfriend Ruby Couch's 18th birthday in Lorne, returned to Australia ready to achieve his own sporting dreams.
He ticked all the boxes in his comeback season. He won GWV Rebels' best and fairest after a standout season in the Coates Talent League, played for Vic Country at the AFL under 18 national championships, earned a VFL debut with Geelong and won a Hampden league premiership with South Warrnambool.
The Roosters' success was extra special for George who played alongside Archie.
They got tattoos on their feet to celebrate the achievement.
"We've always been around the footy club and you see the rooster on the players' ankles and you think 'gee, that would be cool one day'," George said.
"It (the premiership) was something we'd dreamed of, doing the waterboy (duties) at a young age, doing the scoreboard and growing up just wanting to be senior players, let alone premiership players.
"So when the boys got the tattoos the next week, we certainly didn't want to miss out. After the (AFL) combine we went in and got the same tattoo and now it's there for life.
"It is a reminder every time I put my sock and shoe on that I am a South Warrnambool premiership player which is pretty cool."
Stevens compared the pain to the worst he's endured behind his anterior cruciate ligament injury.
"I'll need another premiership for me to get another one," he quipped.
"Between now and another premiership I definitely won't be going near another tattoo."
George's proud mum and dad were there at Reid Oval in September to capture the elation.
Now they're hoping their boy hears his named called out at the AFL draft on November 20-21.
"There's so many reasons to be proud of George and football is just one of them," Natalie said.
"I feel like George could achieve anything he wants.
"In the event that this didn't happen for him next week, I know he will just push and do what it takes to get there because he's just that type of person who will follow his dreams with such determination."
Sam echoed his wife's sentiments.
"We've always preached to our kids that being good at sport is one thing but to be a good person is even more important," he said.
"Thankfully George has been able to tick all those boxes - so have all our kids to be honest. It's something we're really proud of."