Rutten reveals reason for Dons star's absence

1 month ago 10
PR Distribution

Essendon coach Ben Rutten has revealed star forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has been sidelined due to "personal reasons" as opposed to an injury, with the club placing no timeline on his potential return.

After not missing a game since the 2016 season, McDonald-Tipungwuti was a noticeable absentee in Rutten's side in last week's win over the Gold Coast Suns, and was not selected in the team again for Sunday's clash against Collingwood.

A win against the Magpies will secure a finals berth for Essendon, but Rutten was not prepared to say whether the 28-year-old would be back for a potential elimination final.

"It's about Anthony's wellbeing as a person, that comes first and foremost," Rutten said.

McDonald-Tipungwuti has been a major part of Essendon's resurgence up the ladder this year (Getty)

"Anthony won't play in the AFL team this week and we will just continue to manage him, putting him at the forefront of our decision-making. That won't change this week.

"He is going really well, he is getting some really good training in, he is enjoying his time at the club, so that is the way we are going to be managing Anthony."

McDonald-Tipungwuti has kicked 34 goals in 20 appearances this year, and has been a vital component of a forward line that helped Essendon be the third-highest scoring team this season.

Rutten refused to place a timeline on his star forward's return and did not divulge the exact details regarding his absence, simply describing it as "personal reasons".

McDonald-Tipungwuti enjoyed a day out last time Essendon played Collingwood, booting five goals (Getty)

"It's not something we are going to have a running commentary on. But the main thing is, like all our players, we are putting them at the forefront and their wellbeing, and that is really important for Anthony," he said.

"We are giving him the full support, as we would any of our players. I am not sure when we will see him back, but we all know and love what Anthony can do on a football field for us, so we just want to make sure he is in the best-possible condition to be able to do that."

"There's a few things behind the scenes that need to happen to have him being at his best. We are just helping him manage that the best he can, giving him all the support we can. It's just one of those things that happens for everybody from time to time."

McDonald-Tipungwuti is currently second on Essendon's goal-kicking list for 2021, trailing only All-Australian candidate Jake Stringer, who has kicked 37 goals in 17 appearances.

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Read Entire Article