Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has announced his immediate retirement from the game.
The 29-year-old, who has played 126 games for the Bombers, hasn’t played this season after taking personal leave.
“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.”
McDonald-Tipungwuti was born on the Tiwi Islands, off the coast of Darwin, and moved to Victoria when he was 17. He was picked up by the Bombers in the 2015 rookie draft, and made his senior debut in the opening match of the following season.
He was a fan favourite for Bombers supporters, and was Essendon’s leading goalkicker in 2020.
“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,” said Essendon football boss Josh Mahoney.
“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.”