Adelaide's Barnett delights in ALM change of fortunes

·2-min read

Jay Barnett can't quite believe his change in fortunes.

Three months after departing struggling Melbourne Victory in search of more game time at Adelaide United, Barnett is in the thick of a finals campaign with his hometown club.

The Adelaide local was excellent in the Reds' elimination-final win against Wellington and could play a key role in the first leg of their semi-final against Central Coast on Friday night.

"I didn't really come in with much expectations but it has exceeded what I even thought was possible," Barnett told reporters.

"I'm just kind of riding the wave at the moment, obviously wanting the team to go as far as we can."

Barnett played three games at Brisbane then made 35 appearances over three-and-a-half seasons at Victory, who finished second last this season.

The 22-year-old midfielder has played six games for Adelaide since his debut in March, starting in four.

"It's sometimes funny how football works. I'm just really glad that it's worked out that way for me," he said.

"I enjoyed my time in Melbourne and I'm grateful for the opportunity they gave me to really kickstart my professional journey in the first team.

"But obviously it's worked out for the better coming here and still getting more opportunity plus being part of a successful team."

Barnett worked under Reds boss Carl Veart when playing in junior representative sides as a teenager and has relished their reunion.

"He's been massive for me, given me the confidence to go out and play with freedom," Barnett said.

Adelaide missed out on a top-two spot to the Mariners after suffering a crushing 4-0 home defeat in the final round.

They can make amends over two legs though, first at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night, then in Gosford a week later.

"It was just one of those nights for us where we were just a little bit off and they played quite well," Barnett said.

"But we have to put that behind us.

"Finals football is a very different game and over two legs, anything can happen."