Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has gone
from speculative draft pick to being in Essendon's best 22 inside a year.
He approached Worsfold at the end of last year to discuss his hopes of getting onto the list when the new coach was into his first month at the club. He's glad he took the plunge and put his case forward.
"It was during my lunch break and I thought I needed to go and talk to John and see what he said about me training with the boys. I ended up going in and was a bit nervous and went up to him and asked him if I could come up and train and have a go at AFL level," he said.
"We had a chat from then and worked it out and I've really enjoyed playing under him.
"I really enjoyed working [at the club] and learning different cultures, but AFL was my passion and I had to go for it."
He was overlooked at several drafts, and had begun to think an AFL career might have passed him by. Essendon has been a club that has produced strong indigenous voices over the past three decades, and McDonald-Tipungwuti is keen to use his building profile for good.
"It's something I want to do, and encourage indigenous kids to achieve their goals, even if it's footy or just anything in life. I want to be that leader for everyone [so they know] they can achieve their goals if they put their mind to it," McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
"It wasn't easy. It was pretty hard. But I had the support with my families and a few friends. I knew where I had to get and [it was the] AFL. I had to put my mind into it and I finally achieved it, and I've still got a few more years to come."