Update on the return of Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Ben Rutten, Essendon Bombers news

Essendon star Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is unlikely to play at AFL level for the start of the season, according to senior manager Ben Rutten.

McDonald-Tipungwuti recently returned to the club after a personal leave. He also saw his 2021 season cut short for personal reasons.

As the 28-year-old striker is keen to bolster his training loads after returning to the club, Rutten said the club’s preference is to get him back to his peak level rather than rush to AFL level .

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“The realistic (case) in the early parts of the season, I don’t think we’re going to see much of that on the AFL pitch, but certainly watching as the season progresses we want to make sure as we prepare him to come back, we want to see him back in his best light,” he told SEN Breakfast.

“That’s the main thing we’re trying to focus on at the moment, he’s in a good space, he loves coming to the football club, he gets all the support I think he would want and expect from the club. and players as well.

“The best-case scenario at the moment is that we get really good continuity in his preparation and training, and I think that will be the best thing that sets him up for us to see him again.”

Rutten added that McDonald-Tipungwuti have been “in a pretty good space” since returning to the club.

“He’s improving all the time, which is the main thing for us,” he said.

“Without going into great detail, he had a few things he was managing and working off the pitch, all part of his continued growth as a person and we fully supported Anthony and made sure we were there for him. .as best we can.

“I worked very closely with Anthony, he spoke to him the other day, he really wants to start improving and doing more and more in his training.

“We are continually looking to develop him over the next few weeks, to continue to build his fitness base, to get the work he needs so that we can prepare him to get back to his best.

“I think at the end of the day that’s what we want, that’s what he wants and we want to make sure we see him back there in red and black and excite the fans as we know. that he can.”

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