As Marco Paparone helped dig the hole that would eventually become the cellar for the family home, he looked across at his father battling cancer and wondered about the future.
When would the family live in this house?
Would his father be OK?
Would he be living in WA?
Was he good enough to play AFL?
So many questions, so few answers.
Paparone is from a close-knit family. He is the youngest of four children and his brothers, Jack and Cabe, also work with their dad building the house.
They have been digging and building since 2009 and that has bonded them together like few other experiences.
So, when Claude Paparone learnt he had cancer early in the year, it rocked everyone.
"We are so tight," Marco said.
"Dad used to be a builder, but the building company went broke so he stopped. Then we decided we wanted to move to North Fremantle and we wanted to build our own house.
"We had to dig down to build the cellar and that took about six months because all of the soil kept coming in.
"It just wouldn't work out. But now the first level is pretty much done. It's going to be awesome.
"We keep getting setbacks from the council so it's taken years, and with dad's illness, he's had to take time off."
Paparone didn't consider himself a draft prospect when he learnt of his father's cancer.
The teenager had played for WA at the 2010 under-16 national titles, then suffered two ankle injuries and a broken collarbone in 2011.
But football became a sanctuary where his private worries disappeared.
Paparone ran and ran and ran some more. He'd shown an appetite for running at Palmyra during junior footy, but since breaking level 15 during East Fremantle's colts beep test and earning selection in the State's under-18 team, he hasn't looked back.
"Footy took my mind off it all and was really good," Paparone said.
"Dad's into his second round of chemo now and it's going pretty well. He's looking good.
"He's got two lumps in his lungs and one in his back but they're shrinking.
"It'd be tough to move away but because he's doing great, it'd be OK. I'll go anywhere. Playing AFL would be a dream."
Paparone's work rate is his biggest strength. Just like his idol Nick Riewoldt, Paparone leads long and hard. Give the youngster space and he'll run to provide an option.
Centre half-backs must hate playing on the 194cm runner because when they're gasping for air, he's just kicking into gear.
"It's good fun to make the defenders struggle and it gives me more confidence towards the end of games," Paparone said."If you understand how fit your opposition is and you know he's already spent, you just go for another 200m run. It makes it easier to get the ball then."