Bombers cult hero keen to extend AFL career
Essendon cult hero Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has indicated desire to extend his AFL career beyond this season as he eyes a "Dreamtime at the 'G" return against Richmond.
McDonald-Tipungwuti waved an emotional goodbye to Bombers fans on the same stage last year, having settled on a difficult decision to retire.
The 30-year-old has since made a comeback, playing four matches this season in his first senior action since 2021.
He featured as the substitute in round one and has played each of the Bombers' last three games on return from a quad injury, kicking four goals for the year.
"I'm enjoying playing my football and being around the footy club and the boys," McDonald-Tipungwuti told reporters on Thursday.
"I'm just taking it week by week but I'd love to go again and we'll see what happens after this year.
"I was surprised that my body is pulling up really well after games. I'm really enjoying it and it's been fun."
Saturday night's MCG encounter - the feature event of the AFL's annual Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round - is sold out.
A record attendance of more than 85,000 fans is expected.
"I always look forward to "Dreamtime at the 'G'," McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
"Obviously last year was my last day walking out but I always look forward to it and hopefully we can get a lot of supporters come from both teams.
"It's a great round to celebrate Indigenous culture."
McDonald-Tipungwuti returned to Essendon in November and has served as a mentor for the club's young Indigenous players, including exciting talent Alwyn Davey Jnr.
The 130-game forward backed the son of former Bomber Alwyn Davey, and twin brother of fellow current player Jayden, to rise to the occasion against Richmond.
"I love watching him play and grow as a player," McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
"He's looking forward to it and I think he's going to be a little bit nervous but as a player he's quite exciting to watch.
"I'm really happy to guide him along and help him with his footy but I think he's naturally taken it on and he's been great during the pre-season and now playing a few games.
"Hopefully he can go out there and represent his family and his people back home. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do."
Essendon (4-5) have lost their last four games after a bright start to the season and have not beaten Richmond since 2014.