WANGARATTA, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 24: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti of the Bombers and Bachar Houli of the Tigers contest the ball during the JLT Community Series AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Richmond Tigers at Norm Minns Oval on February 24, 2018 in Wangaratta, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's absence from the Bombers' finish to the 2021 season has been explained.

The Essendon livewire did not feature in Ben Rutten's side for the club's final two home and away season games and their elimination final defeat to the Bulldogs.

At the time of McDonald-Tipungwuti's omission, Rutten flagged that the 28-year-old was sidelined due to personal reasons and was not injured.

The Bombers and their faithful looked to rally behind the battling goalsneak as the club embarked on their return to the top-eight.

Speaking on SEN, Bombers champion and manager of McDonald-Tipungwuti, Scott Lucas, explained that the club had looked to work with their gun forward to overcome some challenges he was facing with his body.

“He was challenged in that space with his body which was making it harder for him to perform at the level he would like to, and the team would like him to,” Lucas said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 12: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti of the Bombers gestures during the Essendon Bombers training session at The Hangar on January 12, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

“It just made it difficult and in the end the club made the decision to try and work through that and hope that if the finals go longer then he was a really good chance to come back.

“He just needed to get his body right, so it became a race against time really.”

McDonald-Tipungwuti played 20 games for the Bombers this season, booting 34 goals - including a five-goal haul against Collingwood on ANZAC Day.

2022 will be the Tiwi Island star's seventh season in the AFL after originally joining the Bombers to aid the club's list struggles amid their supplements saga scandal.

Having played 126 games in the red sash since making his debut in 2016, McDonald-Tipungwuti frames as a bargain recruit for the Bombers as they eye a consecutive finals campaign next year for the first time since 2004.

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