Rhali Dobson thought she would be in the midst of renovating the house she and partner Matt Stonham had just purchased in East Maitland.
Instead, the 25-year-old will be lining up for Melbourne City in her first ever W-League grand final.
Dobson was just 16 when she joined the Jets for the inaugural W-League season in 2008-09.
She made 55 appearances for Newcastle over several years but was not re-signed for this season.
After resigning herself to the fact she would not be playing, a call came out of the blue offering her a spot with the star-studded, back-to-back W-League champions.
Now, as City prepare to do battle with Sydney FC in the championship decider at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, Dobson plans to soak up every minute.
“It’s very surreal because it’s taken 10 years to get to it and to make it with such an exceptional club, which is basically the most successful club in W-League history, is very magical, I suppose,” Dobson said.
“I never anticipated playing with a club like Melbourne City and to be here and to have played such a big part of it, I’m very much pinching myself.”
Dobson has earned her place in the City squad each week, which is no mean feat as it includes several Matildas and the likes of internationals Jess Fishlock and Yukari Kinga.
“I never take anything for granted and I’ve just been enjoying this week,” she said.
“Grand final week at any level is such a fun and joyful week. To actually achieve it in the biggest form of competition in Australia with such an exceptional club who is on the verge of making W-League history, I’m just bathing in the moment.”
Dobson feels she has taken her game to a new level since joining City in September.
“I look back at where I was this time last year and I just see how much I have changed as a person and as a player especially,” Dobson said.
“I am just so happy I came here and I got the call-up by PK [City coach Patrick Kisnorbo].
“It’s like when you’re a kid and Santa comes on Christmas morning, that’s what it’s like and I’m just loving every minute of this week.”
The match is at 5pm and will be televised live on Foxtel.