UNDER the impression that his future at Adelaide was secure, Jared Petrenko was summoned by new coach Phil Walsh and head of football David Noble last Friday expecting a casual meet and greet.
The meeting lasted just a few minutes and Petrenko left it unemployed.
Towards the end of the 2014 season the club told him that if he wasn't traded, his contract at West Lakes back would be extended.
He was shocked then at the apparent backflip, but said he held no malice towards Walsh or Noble, or the football club, which had been home for seven seasons.
Petrenko, who is determined to continue his career elsewhere, told AFL.com.au such is the ruthless nature of modern football.
"I was in the meeting for about two minutes … I was describing it to the boys on the weekend at [David Mackay's] wedding, I was saying I went in there to touch gloves with Phil and he ended up giving me the one-two straight in the guts," he said with a smile.
"It was pretty brutal and I understand that – I hold nothing against Phil or David Noble at all – that's the industry we're in."
Ultimately, Petrenko's focused on his situation's silver lining – the chance of a fresh start.
His career, held back by persistent injuries, had stagnated at Adelaide and he believed he had lost the faith of former coach Brenton Sanderson.
The incredibly popular "human cannonball", as Sanderson once described him, hasn't managed a full pre-season for two years.
Now fit and determined to hit the ground running at whichever club wanted him, the 24-year-old was certain he had plenty of high-impact football ahead.
Whereas earlier in his career he might have been reluctant to venture too far from Adelaide, he said he was absolutely ready to move anywhere he needed to.
The outpouring of support from rival players and supporters around the country following his delisting has acted as proof that Petrenko would fit into any environment.
"You can look at it in two different ways: it's the end or it's a new beginning," he said.
"I played my best footy in 2012 and it's no surprise that it came off a pretty full pre-season; I felt as fit as I had ever been, as strong as I had ever been.
"I want to get back to that sort of shape, if not better … I'm pretty excited to see what I can get out of myself over the next couple of months.
"I'm really hungry to stay in the system."
Petrekno won't give up on his AFL dream even if he's overlooked for season 2015.
If another team doesn't pick him up, he plans to play for his original SANFL club Woodville/West Torrens and fight hard to rejoin the AFL in 2016.
There was no time in Petrenko's first and only face-to-face talk with Walsh to identify the areas he must work on, but he's well aware of his deficiencies.
Simply put, he hasn't been fit enough and the frenetic pace at which he plays often means he lacks composure.
A full pre-season would go a long way to answering questions over his fitness and he's accepted help from former Crow Andrew Jarman – widely regarded as one of the club's most skillful players of all time.
He and Jarman are set to meet a few times a week to iron out many of his issues.
One thing's for sure - having initially fought his way onto the Crows' senior list as a rookie, Petrenko's not the sort of player to write off quickly.