Beloved Bomber Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has called time on his outstanding career, today announcing his retirement from AFL effective immediately.
In a career littered with highlights of his magic up forward, McDonald-Tipungwuti informed his teammates of his decision to bid farewell to the game after seven seasons in the red and black.
Recruited from the club’s VFL side, McDonald-Tipungwuti made his debut in 2016, becoming a mainstay at senior level to break the record for consecutive games played for Essendon in the AFL era with 115.
Throughout his 126-game career, McDonald-Tipungwuti kicked 153 goals and claimed the club’s Matthew Lloyd Leading Goalkicker award in 2020.
Over the past year, McDonald-Tipungwuti has been dealing with personal matters and as such, did not feature in a senior game in 2022.
One of only a handful of players across the League who could bring football fans to their feet regularly, McDonald-Tipungwuti’s on-field feats will forever be remembered for his electric speed, classy skills and determined tackles.
With his own remarkable story of resilience, McDonald-Tipungwuti was raised on the Tiwi Islands and grew up playing for the Tiwi Bombers before moving to Victoria at the age of 17 in the pursuit of an AFL career.
Once living in Victoria, McDonald-Tipungwuti played six seasons for the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup and for Essendon’s VFL side before his dreams were finally realised when he was rookie-listed by Essendon at the end of 2015.
McDonald-Tipungwuti said he was forever grateful to the Essendon Football Club.
“The Bombers gave me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of playing AFL,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
“I have loved my time at the club and I am so proud of what I have been able to achieve in my AFL career. I am also proud of my education, coming to Victoria was to pursue my education and that has been really important for me too.
“The club and my teammates have been extremely supportive throughout my whole career but I feel really happy to be moving on to the next chapter of my life now. I’m ready for life beyond football.
”I wish all the boys the best for their future, I’ll be watching on from afar.”
Executive general manager of football Josh Mahoney acknowledged the outstanding contribution McDonald-Tipungwuti had made to the club, and the game more broadly.
“Anthony has been a truly wonderful person to have at the club for the past seven years and we are a better football club to have had him within our four walls,” Mahoney said.
“Anthony is an incredible role model and his contribution to this game has been profound.
“We’ve been working incredibly closely to support Anthony over nearly the past 12 months in dealing with his personal matters, and while we will miss his brilliance on the field, we accept and support his decision knowing his ultimate happiness is the utmost priority to all. This is the best decision for Anthony as a person.
“He will be missed around the club and by his teammates, but we sincerely wish Anthony, his partner and family all the very best in his next chapter of life.
“Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti will always be an Essendon person.”
McDonald-Tipungwuti will bid farewell to the Bomber faithful at the Dreamtime at the ‘G blockbuster on Saturday night, with his teammates set to proudly run out in the 2022 Dreamtime duernsey designed by McDonald-Tipungwuti.