McDonald-Tipungwuti to make AFL comeback

Essendon cult hero Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti will make a popular return to the Bombers, rescinding his AFL retirement.

After calling it quits six months ago, McDonald-Tipungwuti has rediscovered his love for football and will head back to Tullamarine to play under new coach Brad Scott.

The 29-year-old met with Fremantle about potentially playing with the Dockers but has opted to return to Essendon on a one-year contract.

"We are thrilled that Anthony has decided to come back to the Bombers," Essendon football manager Josh Mahoney said on Thursday.

"We're comfortable he has taken the time he needs to bring a renewed enthusiasm to return to the AFL and play for Essendon.

"He is a committed Essendon person who loves playing football and our conversations with Anthony recently led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would come back to Essendon."

"We will continue to support him on and off the field and assist in his quest to return to football. We acknowledge a lot of hard work is ahead but feel confident he can achieve his football ambitions and goals at the club he loves."

The dynamite Indigenous star brought his 126-game, 153-goal career to a shock end ahead of the Bombers' Dreamtime clash with Richmond in May.

McDonald-Tipungwuti had been dealing with personal issues and his last appearance for the Bombers' AFL team was in round 21, 2021.

He thanked the Bombers for giving him a chance at the highest level when he stepped away.

"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," McDonald-Tipungwuti said in May.

"I am also proud of my education, coming to Victoria was to pursue my education and that has been really important for me too."

McDonald-Tipungwuti's debut in 2016 was one of the few shining lights for the Bombers during a dark period for the club.

He burst onto the scene in a year when Essendon's list was decimated after 12 players still at the club were banned over the infamous supplements saga.

Even when the Bombers' established stars returned to the field in 2017, McDonald-Tipungwuti continued his meteoric rise and became of the most popular players in the AFL.

His cult status was cemented in 2019 when Australian band Picket Palace released a song in his honour.

Essendon Indigenous legend Michael Long called it a "sad day" when McDonald-Tipungwuti retired.

"A big loss for the Tiwi Islands because he comes from such a big family; for him to leave like this they'd be devastated," Long said in May.