Returning Essendon star Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has revealed that traveling across the country with his dog reignited his passion for AFL.
McDonald-Tipungwuti last week confirmed his return to the Bombers, reversing his decision to retire six months earlier.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti speaks exclusively with Mitch Cleary.
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He traveled through the Northern Territory and Western Australia with his Drover “best traveling companion”, the Blue Heeler.
“It’s been great for me to go away and find myself again and what it means to me to not only represent Indigenous peoples and people across Australia,” he told 7NEWS.
“I think the trip helped me go there again.”
The 29-year-old has signed a one-year deal with the Bombers and says new manager Brad Scott was instrumental in his decision to return to the club.
“[Scott]was one of those guys who really had faith and confidence that it would help me as a player but also more as a person,” he said.
“I felt very comfortable with Brad and I look forward to working with him and growing as a leader and as a person.
“That’s why I felt comfortable about the decision to come back.”
With his fierce attack on the ball and eye for goal, McDonald-Tipungwuti became an instant fan favorite with the Bombers.
He has scored 153 goals in 126 games and says he’s “still got it” despite not having a senior game in 2022.
“Everyone gives me feedback on how great I’ve done for the little kids, and everyone says you’re young, you’re not too old to finish,” he said.
“It’s great to hear the feedback from the community I’ve visited.
“I thought I’ve still got it, I’ve got a little bit in me and I’d like to see how I can get back on my feet.”
The Indigenous leader is also looking forward to playing alongside Davey twins Alwyn jnr and Jayden, who will officially join the club as father-son draft picks later this month.
Next Generation Academy contender Anthony Munkara also has a chance of ending up at the club if things go according to the Bombers’ plan on draft night.
“I love this football club and I love the boys and the people who work there,” he said.
“We have a young group and I am happy to be a part of it.
“It would be great for me to share my knowledge and experience with these guys (the Davey twins and Munkara) and hopefully see them grow.
“Obviously I’ve had a few throughout my career who have helped me and I’m happy to share my experience and knowledge as I want to see more Indigenous boys play at Essendon Football Club.
“I’m very excited and ready to go and see them grow and I can’t wait to see them embrace it.”
https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/how-mcdonald-tipungwutis-aussie-trip-with-beloved-blue-heeler-played-a-part-in-surprise-afl-return-c-8876245 How McDonald-Tipungwuti’s Australia trip with beloved Blue Heeler played a role in surprise AFL return