Northern Knights’ Patrick Lipinski experienced the best day of his life earlier this year.
As a diehard Western Bulldogs supporter, he was in heaven as the Bulldogs broke their 62-year VFL/AFL premiership drought in October.
Yet he only had to wait a month or so to have that feeling of elation trumped in a most fitting fashion.
The Bulldogs used their second pick, number 28, in the AFL national draft on Friday night to bring the 18-year-old to the club.
“I wasn’t expecting to be taken at pick 28 – I thought I might have been picked up later on,” Lipinski said.
“It [the premiership] was the best moment of my life. I’ve been a supporter since I was three and been so passionate and was at the ground on grand final day.
“It’s now the second best moment in my life.”
The Bulldogs were one of 10 clubs that had spoken to Lipinski at the AFL national combine in October.
“It’s been ridiculous,” he said. “If someone said to me I’d be drafted, I wouldn’t have believed them.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work and sacrificed a lot.”
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Lipinski, who played only two games for the Knights after being added to the squad midway through last season.
He gave up basketball and decided to focus on football, making the Knights’ squad for this season.
The decision of the Knights’ coaches to move him from the forward line to midfield this season proved to be vital.
He played the first six games of the season in the forward line, kicking at least a goal in each game.
“The change to the midfield made recruiters take notice of me and sparked interest,” he said. “I played three games there before hurting my hand, which was annoying.
“I was lucky to get back and play another three games.”
Lipinski becomes the second Eltham junior player to be recruited by the Bulldogs in recent years, following in the footsteps of Marcus Bontempelli.
Lipinski said he had received several welcoming texts from officials and players.
The AFL rookie draft was held on Monday afternoon after deadline.
Go to www.starweekly.com.au for all the information on local draftees from the rookie draft.