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McDonald-Tipungwuti considering shock AFL return with rival club's pitch leading the way


Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is considering a return to the AFL with Fremantle leading the way for his signature, according to Matthew Lloyd.

McDonald-Tipungwuti retired this year after dealing with injury problems earlier in the season and failing to return to full fitness.

The 29-year-old played 126 games for Essendon through six seasons at the club and was the Bombers’ leading goalkicker in 2020.

McDonald-Tipungwuti was in the room for Essendon’s best and fairest on Monday night, and Bombers great Lloyd broke the news on Tuesday morning that the small forward was pondering a return to the top level.

“A bit of news, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti was in the room despite retiring earlier in the year and he is contemplating a return back to football to play AFL next year,” Lloyd told AFL Trade Radio's The Early Trade.

“Essendon are very keen for him to re-join Essendon, but leading the race to have Anthony next year is the Fremantle Dockers.

“Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is considering a move to Western Australia to play for Fremantle if he does decide he’s going to put the work in and play AFL football again.

“Both the Bombers would like him to play and Fremantle leading the race currently.

“I think for Anthony, his lifestyle and everything, he’s had a fair bit going on. I think it’s the environment he needs and if he feels it’s best to leave Victoria, well, I’d be comfortable with that.”

The Bombers missed McDonald-Tipungwuti’s services in 2022 and struggled to kick consistent scores, with only two players (Peter Wright and Jake Stringer) kicking more than 20 goals.

“When Essendon were going, 'Tippa' (McDonald-Tipungwuti) was absolutely on fire,” Lloyd continued.

“So he’s got to work out, ‘do I want to do the work, do I want to have to do months and months to drop the kilos that he needs to get back to match fit?’

“But I hope he does because he’s a serious talent and he might be one of the blokes that regrets it in 10 years… I hope he has a good crack at it.”

Despite missing all of 2022 McDonald-Tipungwuti previously played at least 20 games in each of his last five seasons, except 2020 when he managed 17 appearances.


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