Essendon cult hero Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has retired from the AFL, effective immediately.
The dynamite small forward has been dealing with personal issues and has not played for the Bombers since round 21 last year.
McDonald-Tipungwuti’s 126-game career ends after it started in 2016 when he was given a chance when the Bombers were rocked by season-long bans to players during the drugs saga.
“The Bombers gave me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of playing AFL,” the 29-year-old 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 raised on the Tiwi Islands before moving to Victoria at the age of 17 in the pursuit of an AFL career.
“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,” Bombers football manager Josh 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.”
- Story by Oliver Caffrey, AAP