McDonald-Tipungwuti called time on his in May, while his last AFL appearance came in Round 21 last year before a battle with injuries and personal reasons kept him sidelined for months.
The Tiwi Bombers product was a fan favourite at Tullamarine, booting 153 goals from 126 games in the red sash and also won Essendon's leading goalkicker award in 2020.
After opting to leave the Bombers mid-season, the 29-year-old is now understood to be considering a return to the top flight, according to Essendon great Matthew Lloyd.
Speaking on Trade Radio the morning after Essendon's Crichton Medal ceremonies, Lloyd revealed that Fremantle are seen as the front-runners to acquire McDonald-Tipungwuti should he return, while Essendon are hopeful of retaining the forward.
“Essendon are very keen for him to re-join Essendon, but leading the race to have Anthony next year is the Fremantle Dockers.
“Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is considering a move to Western Australia to play for Fremantle if he does decide he's going to put the work in and play AFL football again.
“Both the Bombers would like him to play and Fremantle leading the race currently."
McDonald-Tipungwuti's departure left a void in Essendon's attack for the latter half of this season, prompting the Bombers to pursue a number of small forwards for this trade period.
Unfortunately, both Essendon targets in Suns gun Izak Rankine and Demons forward Toby Bedford have opted for moves to Adelaide and GWS respectively, leaving Essendon unlikely to add to their small forward list.
Fremantle are sure to have list spots open for McDonald-Tipungwuti after the trade period, with the Dockers expected to lose Griffin Logue, Darcy Tucker, Lloyd Meek, Blake Acres and potentially Rory Lobb in the next week.
McDonald-Tipungwuti would join an already potent small forward pack under Justin Longmuir should he head west, adding to the likes of Lachie Schultz, Sam Switkowski, Michael Walters and Michael Frederick.
According to 7 News Perth's Ryan Daniels, Longmuir and McDonald-Tipungwuti have held discussions in Perth in recent weeks.
A move to Fremantle wouldn't come until after the drafts window however, with the Dockers likely to add the forward as a train and trial player.
On the @freodockers pursuit of Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti…
Justin Longmuir met with Tippa two weeks ago at Trigg beach.
If he ends up at Freo, it would be post-draft as a train on player, to see if the fit is right. Long shot, but not impossible. @7NewsPerth
— Ryan Daniels (@FootyRhino) October 3, 2022
McDonald-Tipungwuti could then be signed through the AFL's pre-season Supplemental Selection Period window before the start of next season.
The situation has been raised following a 'change of circumstances' to McDonald-Tipungwuti's personal life that has opened the door for a potential return.
“Some personal circumstances have changed it's fair to say, which has meant he's had the opportunity or the inclination to reconsider. With that in mind, I think he's in a really good headspace,” his manager Scott Lucas revealed on Trade Radio.
“I think physically he's also in a better position that perhaps he was at the end of his time at Essendon.
"We'll just work through it all and see where it leads.”