Retired Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti will return to the Bombers following his shock mid-season retirement.

The 29-year-old called time on his career with Essendon in May this year following a battle with injury and personal issues.

McDonald-Tipungwuti hung up the boots after 126 games in seven years with the Bombers, where he booted 153 goals.

Following months out of the AFL system, interest in the Tiwi Islands native piqued, with Fremantle said to be an interested suitor in his services.

The Bombers also remained in contact with the forward, who had even returned to Tullamarine to train.

The club confirmed on Thursday ahead of the list lodgement deadline that the lively forward was returning for 2023.

“We are thrilled that Anthony has decided to come back to the Bombers," Essendon football boss Josh Mahoney said.

"Anthony took time away from the club in 2022 to focus on life outside of footy. We're comfortable he has taken the time he needs to bring a renewed enthusiasm to return to the AFL and play for Essendon,” Mahoney said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 23: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti of the Bombers celebrates a goal during the round 23 AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

"He is a committed Essendon person who loves playing football and our conversations with Anthony recently led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would come back to Essendon.

“Once we knew he was keen to return we worked with the AFL on the right pathway back to the club including approval from a list management perspective.

“We will continue to support him on and off the field and assist in his quest to return to football. We acknowledge a lot of hard work is ahead but feel confident he can achieve his football ambitions and goals at the club he loves.

“He is loved by players, coaches, staff and fans and we look forward to him returning to Essendon.

McDonald-Tipungwuti confirmed his decision to return this week following discussions with Brad Scott, and will begin pre-season with the Bombers in the coming weeks.