AFTER being brought in to replace regular Brisbane Roar keeper Michael Theo at the start of the A-League season, it would be fair to say things did not pan out the way Jamie Young wanted early on.
The defending champion became the first team to remain without a point in the competition's history after four rounds.
And then Young found himself under fire from his own teammates, defender Shane Stefanutto was forced to publicly apologise after berating Young in the round five clash with Melbourne City.
While the start wasn't great, things have only got better for the 29-year-old gloveman who will fill the role again in tonight's elimination final against Adelaide United at the Adelaide Oval.
"Not a lot of people would have known who I was at the start of the season, but hopefully I have shown all players that with the right attitude and work ethic you can achieve your dreams," Young said.
"I've come a long way since the start of the season. But to do that you have got to come in every day and be prepared to work . . . work hard and smart."
Working "smart" is not a problem for Young who is studying for his second degree in the field of human and sport science.
On the team's recent trip to China for an Asian Champions League clash with Beijing Guoan, the keeper's suitcase was filled with as many text books as football items.
"Study and learning keeps your brain sharp and that is important on the field too," he said.
Despite Brisbane having beaten Adelaide seven times out of the past eight games in Adelaide, with the other one finishing in a draw, Young is smart enough to know finals football is a different proposition. But he said the team's strong finish to the season, including the excellent win in China last month, had given the players confidence of a competitive showing against the Reds.
"There is a reason why Adelaide has finished so high in the table (third), and that's because they're a competitive team," Young said.
"We've had a lot of travelling over the last six weeks, but I believe this has brought us closer together. We're very determined - this is the Brisbane Roar culture."
Adelaide will start the match as favourite, but coach Josep Gombau told reporters striker Bruce Djite would miss the match with a groin strain, although Spanish midfielder Isaias had been cleared of an ankle injury.
Gombau said while Djite's absence was disappointing, he was confident his replacement - likely to come from the Spanish trio of Sergio Cirio, Pablo Sanchez and Miguel Palanca - would bring plenty of firepower.
ADELAIDE UNITED v BRISBANE ROAR
At Adelaide Oval, 7.30pm (AEST)
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