Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti kicks special goal AFL comeback game for Essendon vs Hawthorn

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti left Essendon fans in raptures during his AFL return on Sunday.

The crowd favorite started the day as a substitute but was knocked down in the opening minutes of the last quarter, much to the delight of Essendon supporters.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: The crowd erupts over Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s goal in the second leg.

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What used to end as a Sunday afternoon bloodbath when the bombers killed Hawthorn with the sword suddenly became a scene of excitement.

The crowd erupted in applause as McDonald-Tipungwuti ran onto the field for the first time since Round 21 in 2021 as “Tippa, Tippa, Tippa” chants rang out around the MCG before he even had a touch.

And it wasn’t long before the Livewire forward chimed in.

Within minutes, the 29-year-old, who resigned in May last year for personal reasons, found himself within goal-distance at the end of a 50-forward entry.

He went back and scored the 50 goal before being swarmed by every Essendon player on the floor.

It clearly drew the biggest cheers from the crowd of 68,691, with even Hawks fans applauding warmly.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti was swarmed by teammates. Credit: channel 7

However, it was surpassed just a minute later when he scored another mark within 50, this time just from 25 yards.

The foot gods, who seemed to have lost their sense of theater, made him miss the shot, but he was still worshiped.

His goal capped an impressive Sunday afternoon for the Bombers at the MCG, with father-son recruit Alwyn Davey also scoring on the debut.

Bombers forward Archie Perkins was the star with 20 disposals, seven goals and three goals, while on-baller Darcy Parish had a game-high 37 disposals.

In his 200th game, Essendon midfielder Dylan Shiel left the field with a sore shoulder in the last quarter, while Hawks veteran Chad Wingard (Wade) also left the field last term.

Essendon bounced back from a scratchy ball effort in the second term to overwhelm the Hawks.

Hawthorn had won their last five games in Round 1 and used this season opener to honor the 1983 Premiership team that mauled Essendon in that year’s grand final.

But the Bombers had a much better sense of opportunity and pulled off a solid win to give their fans a much-needed morale boost after a tumultuous offseason.

After Essendon opened with two quick goals, Hawthorn stabilized and kicked the next four – including a standout piece from Wingard when his beam left the Bombers defenders flat-footed.

A late goal from Essendon’s Jye Menzie limited the damage to 10 points on the first change.

In the second term, the lead changed hands and so it played, as a series of turnovers meant ping-pong football.

Midway through the second quarter, Changkuoth Jiath’s brilliant finish on the run rivaled Wingard for the goal of the day.

It gave Hawthorn the lead again and they were more likely to break up the game.

But it was their last goal of half-time as former Melbourne forward Sam Weideman kicked in two and Davey delighted Bombers fans just before the main break.

After missing a couple of chances, Davey kicked right off his set shot and Essendon led by 16 at half-time.

Perkins scored twice in the third quarter and lit the game as Essendon overwhelmed Hawthorn by six goals to two down and forging a 53-point lead at the final break.

Hawthorn broke Essendon’s eight-goal streak when Luke Breust kicked his second, four minutes into his last term.

New Hawks captain James Sicily had 30 possessions in defense and on-baller James Worpel impressed with 14 contested possessions and seven clearances.

With AAP

Chad Wingard weaves through traffic towards the Slot Goal of the Year contender

Chad Wingard weaves through traffic towards the Slot Goal of the Year contender Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti kicks special goal AFL comeback game for Essendon vs Hawthorn

James Brien

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