Bomber cult hero gets indefinite leave

Injured Essendon striker Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has been granted time off by the AFL club to deal with personal issues.

The 28-year-old fan favorite battled a calf injury in preseason, but the Bombers announced on Saturday that he would also be walking away from the club with their full support.

“Anthony has been very open with us about some of his personal struggles and, coupled with his recovery from a calf injury, we felt this time off was in the best interests of supporting Anthony,” the official said. Bombers director of football, Josh Mahoney.

“He is a much loved member of our football club and we will continue to care for Anthony and fully support him throughout this period, and we look forward to his return in the future.”

The goalneak missed Essendon’s last three games of the 2021 season, including a knockout final loss to the Western Bulldogs for personal reasons.

The 126-man player had previously scored 34 career goals, an equal record, in 20 appearances last season before his campaign was halted.

Essendon are seeking a successive top-eight finish in 2022 and begin their AFL Premiership season against Geelong on March 19.

McDonald-Tipungwuti has only missed four games since making his debut for the Bombers in their 2016 wooden spoon season following the supplement saga.

Three of those games came at the end of the 2021 season, including missing their final elimination loss to the Western Bulldogs for personal reasons.


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