Retiring Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti says he's thankful for the love and support shown to him throughout his six-year AFL career.
The 29-year-old called time on his playing days after a long consideration process, citing the “time was right” to move on from the game and focus on the next phase of his life.
The man known affectionately as ‘Walla’ played 126 games in the red and black, kicking 153 goals and electrifying crowds with his freakish skills and innate ability around goals.
Hailing from the Tiwi Islands, McDonald-Tipungwuti’s story to becoming a football star is inspiring, going from Essendon’s VFL list to excelling as an AFL player.
Speaking today after his retirement from the game, McDonald-Tipungwuti said he couldn’t have had a better environment to achieve his dreams of playing at the highest level.
“It’s the best AFL career I would’ve ever wanted to have,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it. The Essendon Football Club in general has been a great support for me in being a part of this great football club.
“I wouldn’t be here if Essendon didn’t take the chance and help me follow my dreams. I’ve really enjoyed my time and my journey along the way, and I’ll never forget Essendon. I’ll always be an Essendon person in my heart.”
You’ll always be a Don, Walla ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/q0lJ5PKawR— Essendon FC (@essendonfc) May 20, 2022
McDonald-Tipungwuti also paid tribute to the plethora of Dons fans who he’s entertained over his career.
Being a popular fan favourite among the Essendon community, McDonald-Tipungwuti said Bombers supporters meant a lot to him.
“The Essendon fans have been a massive support in my life as a person and as a footballer,” he said.
“Fans turn up every week to support us and I’m very thankful (for that). I’m thankful that I got to meet every Essendon supporter I did and I wouldn’t have been able to play the game week in and week out with their support.”
McDonald-Tipungwuti will be recognised at Saturday night’s Dreamtime at the ‘G clash, having designed Essendon’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round guernsey.