'BULLY-BALL' is already enough of a nightmare for opposing midfields when they face the Western Bulldogs, but it's about to get worse now that young gun Pat Lipinski looks to take the next step.

The midfielder averaged just a tick under 22 disposals per game in a breakout 2019 season, but he's not content with just being a skilled outside runner.

The one thing that the 21-year-old wants to add to his toolkit this year is something that separates Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield from the rest of the pack.

"I want to get the ball and explode," Lipinski said.

"I'm adding more power in my game and in my midfield craft."

We have 40 healthy players and we have really good depth. I really have to improve to make sure that spot is mine

- Patrick Lipinski


Decision making has been a strength of Lipinski's but having the option to take on would-be tacklers gives the Bulldogs an extra dimension in a midfield already stacked with star power. 

"Often I'd get the ball and flick it off quickly, which was still the right decision to make sometimes, but adding that power and strength to my game will help as I play more inside midfield."

Bulldogs midfield coach Jordan Russell and veteran Mitch Wallis have been working closely with Lipinski, Ed Richards and Billy Gowers on taking their in-and-under games to the next level.

"We work inside on a craft floor where we do midfield work. You do some work with contested one on ones, but for me it's mainly winning the ball and taking those first few steps with a burst out of the pack," Lipinski said.

Whilst Lipinski looks like a walk-up best 22 player, he knows the competition is beating down the door behind him.

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"We have 40 healthy players and we have really good depth. I really have to improve to make sure that spot is mine."

After 17 games as a half-forward flanker in 2018, the young gun started 2019 in the VFL and ended up with just 14 senior games last season.

That demotion actually worked wonders for his ability to find the ball, as he started to figure out running patterns.


"The start of the year I played VFL just completely midfield and got better there. That correlated a little bit to the AFL and finding the ball more.

"The good thing with VFL is we play with the exact same game plan."



Going the extra mile to achieve success is something that runs in the blood for the young midfielder.

The Lipinksi family are an international team of go-getters all living out their dreams on three different continents.

Lipinski went over to New York in December to catch up with his brother Julian, who has recently finished his college basketball career.

"He played college basketball for four years for St Rose in Albany, upstate New York. He did really well there and now he's working in New York City doing equity sales and working on Wall Street," Lipinski said of his brother.



Lipinski's sister Stephanie also joined her siblings on the trip.

"I've got a sister as well working in London. She works for Stella McCartney so she's doing her dream job."

Lipinski will get his first chance to impress in the Marsh Community Series game against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Friday February 21.