FOUR days prior to the 2019 AFLW Draft, Krstel Petrevski wasn’t even on Melbourne’s radar.
But thanks to Neville Jetta, all that changed, just in the nick of time.
“Throughout the whole draft period I hadn’t spoken to Melbourne,” Petrevski told Melbourne Media.
“It wasn’t until the Saturday before the draft that me and Nev Jetta, who plays for the boys, went to the gym.”
And it was a gym session which proved life changing for the youngster from Halls Creek.
While Petrevski’s recruitment story is as unique as any, her desire to succeed in life made this outcome inevitable.
“I left home when I was 11 for the lack of opportunities they had there,” she said.
“I had high dreams and ambitions for myself and I knew I had to leave home to get what I want out of life and do what I want with my career.
“I went to boarding school in Sydney. I was in Sydney for three years, then I got the opportunity to go to Melbourne and I finished off my high school years in Melbourne.
“I’ve been living in boarding schools most of my life … but I wouldn’t change anything about it.”
If it wasn’t for this bold move in her younger years, Petrevski’s AFLW pathway would never have opened up.
The 18-year-old met Jetta during one of his school community visits, and with some mutual family friends back home, a bond, and a mentorship, blossomed.
“We had been doing some training together because he knew I wanted to play AFL and he wanted to help me … and I actually met Toddy Patterson (AFLW List Manager), for the first time at the gym,” Petrevski said.
“He ended up calling after we left to go and get some scans and do a medical, and then he invited me back for an interview the Monday before the draft.”
Just one day later, Petrevski became a Demon.
The cousin of Toby Bedford had an injury interrupted season in 2019, managing just four games in the NAB League for the Calder Cannons, and four at VFLW level.
But the Dees weren’t deterred, taking a chance on the crafty forward – to her surprise – with their final selection, pick No.78.
Arriving on Day 1 of pre-season, Petrevski was fully aware she’d be taking a long-term approach to her development as a footballer.
But perhaps she was wrong.
“Going in I didn’t think I’d be playing this year,” she said.
“I thought I’ll develop properly, do all I can and hopefully the results will come.
“Obviously I wanted to play but I knew I had to take a lot of steps to get there and … put in a lot of work before pulling on the jersey.”
Over a five-month period, Petrevski ticked off each of those steps one by one, and in the lead up to the club’s inaugural finals series, was told she’d be debuting at AFLW level.
“It was an unreal experience,” she said.
“Even leaving the airport in Sydney I actually couldn’t believe I’d be playing in a Semi Final.
“First AFL game ever, playing in a Semi Final – I was very nervous.”
The bubbly character, who has self-proclaimed to be the most annoying player on the list, is full of energy, and admits her emotions were like a rollercoaster last weekend.
“When we got to the hotel where we were staying and just being around the girls and just chilling with the girls, I got real comfortable and settled down a bit,” Petrevski said.
“But sitting in the change rooms before receiving my guernsey, you can ask a few of the girls, I couldn’t stop moving.
“I was dancing around, jumping around, and everyone was like, ‘Oh yeah, she’s definitely nervous.’”
And rightfully so – it was a big occasion.
But after Daisy Pearce handed over the Melbourne jumper, Petrevski settled in and enjoyed one of the best days of her life.
“It was very, very exciting,” she said.
“I’m very grateful to be a part of that.
“Overall, everything that happened that whole entire week was just unreal – I couldn’t believe I was actually playing in a Semi Final.”
The Dees pinched a remarkable three-point win in the dying stages of their clash with GWS, allowing Petrevski to put on a show during a unique rendition of ‘A Grand Old Flag’.
“All the girls got around me,” she said.
“They were like, ‘Come on Krstel, surely you’ve got to do a dance, come on KP.’
“So I was like, ‘Alright, let’s go.’
“Then when everyone started clapping, I was thinking, yeah, we’re on here.”
And the celebrations began.
At that point, the girls had a Preliminary Final against Fremantle in their sights, but unfortunately, within 24 hours, their season was put to an end.
It was a disappointing way for the AFLW competition to conclude, but after an incredible journey in the red and blue, Petrevski wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“I love the girls, the coaching staff and the Melbourne Footy Club, so I’m very grateful to be a part of it all,” she said.
“Our group is a very special group.
“I consider them all family – they’re all my family now.”
Unfortunately, Petrevski will be separated from her teammates indefinitely as she heads back home for isolation, with some more important things to take care of at this time.
“I had no idea I was coming home literally until Sunday night,” she said.
“The club called me to say it’d be better to spend time with my family during this crisis.
“So I jumped on a plane the next day and I’m back in Halls Creek now.
“I have to self-isolate for 14 days, so obviously I’ll stay here until I get the all clear to come back to Melbourne.”
And that return to Victoria is very much on her mind, but firstly, she’s going to enjoy being around her loved ones while she can.
“I’m actually so keen,” she said.
“We’re going to go fishing, swimming and hunting hopefully, because we’re out in the bush so we’re away from everyone.
“It’s going to be good to just spend time with family, because when I come back, I won’t see them for a while, so I need to do that.
“But being safe is the main thing.”
And that it is.