“I never thought I’d be playing for the Bulldogs.
“But I don’t want to get caught up in that too much, I still want to keep my normal routine, enjoy the week, good weather.
“2016 is in the past.”
Lipinski returned to the senior team in round 13 and has played every game since, adding depth to one of the AFL’s best midfields.
Marcus Bontempelli, one of the main Brownlow Medal favourites, and Jack Macrae made the All-Australian team and fellow onballer Josh Dunkley also was named in the 40-man squad.
“There’s three of the best 10 midfielders in the competition right now – sometimes you have to pinch yourself when you’re at the centre bounce,” Lipinski said.
“It’s pretty cool and obviously they get a lot of attention drawn towards them … they get little handballs to you that not many other players can find.”
The Bulldogs will start favourites in Saturday’s elimination final against GWS at Giants Stadium, having mauled them in the second half at the same venue only two games ago.
But the Giants will be a much stronger side this time and Lipinski knows his finals debut will be a different experience.
He will leave it until later in the week to pick the brains of teammates with finals experience.
“It’s mainly just excitement and optimism – you don’t really know what to expect,” he said.
“It’s a dream come true.
“You need to just keep it a little bit normal, you don’t want to get too psyched out.”
The Giants also boast a strong midfield and Lipinski said the Bulldogs onballers have an underdog mindset, where they try to nullify their opponents whenever possible.
“They’re not coming after us, we’re coming after them and that’s really helped us in the back half of the year,” he said.