Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has announced his retirement from the AFL.
The 29-year-old played 126 games and kicked 153 goals after debuting for the Bombers in 2016.
The small forward left the club after Round 21 last season for personal reasons. He has not played a game at AFL level since.
“The Bombers gave me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of playing AFL,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said via a club statement.
“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 until he was 17, before moving to Victoria to live with his adoptive family to finish his education and play football for the Gippsland Power.
After missing on being drafted to the AFL, McDonald-Tipungwuti joined Essendon’s VFL club, Bendigo, and was eventually drafted at pick 22 in the 2015 rookie draft.
Essendon’s executive general manager of football Josh Mahoney said McDonald-Tipungwuti had been an incredible role model for the game.
“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.”
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