HAWTHORN vice-captain Jarryd Roughead is 'cancer free' and has been given the all-clear to resume full training just seven months after being sidelined with a reoccurrence of his melanoma.
The 29-year old didn't play at all in 2016 because of a knee injury and then the dreadful news that sent shockwaves through the football community.
Roughead told the Hawthorn website that he received the positive news on Monday afternoon, following the first training session of the summer for the entire Hawthorn squad.
"The drugs that I had have worked and killed off everything. That's what we wanted from the start. I'm cancer free and that's what you want to hear," he said.
"I've had a complete response from the (immunology) treatment so far and he's (Grant McArthur, the specialist) given me the all-clear to get back living a normal life, do the things I want, which is playing footy
"It reassures me that things are all good and I can get back to living a normal life."
Roughead explained that a "complete response" means the tumours are gone.
He will continue having regular scans every three months to ensure there are no more relapses.
He had a growth removed from his lip in 2015 before last year's more serious development, during which a series of spots were found in his chest.
"This is part of the regular surveillance," he said of the requirement to keep having scans.
Roughead said he was fortunate enough to react positively to the course of treatment he undertook.
"The team at Peter Mac was amazing to me and I can't thank them enough," he added.
He said there a few initial side effects, but he was able to recover from those quickly enough. He resumed light training after Hawthorn's season ended with a semi-final loss to the Western Bulldogs in September and apart from a three-week holiday to the United States, has been training in some shape or form since.
But he is now looking to resume full training in a bid to be fit for what now shapes as an epic opening round clash between against the reconstituted Essendon at what might well be a sold-out MCG.
"I can start looking forward to pre-season because after six or seven months of not kicking a footy, I can get back to stuff I've been doing here since I was 17 years of age," he said.
"But I don't want to put a round on it. I just want to play footy again and who knows when that will be. Footy wasn't the priority until now. We didn't worry about it because it wasn't important.
"Once you go through something like this, footy is nothing. To be there for your family, this is the most important thing."
So stoked to hear the news for the big Rough!!! Yeeeww @JarrydRoughead2— Dyson Heppell (@DysonHeppell) December 6, 2016
Roughead said he would be coming in fresh, not having had any physical contact for a year and also because of the mental release from not having played.
He will be training with no restrictions, but is also mindful that he has to regain full confidence in his repaired posterior cruciate ligament, having not played at all since 2015.
"We all thought I'd be out until June or July, so this is a big bonus," he said.
"I just want to enjoy being out with the boys."
Sensational news @JarrydRoughead2— Josh Jenkins (@JoshJenkins24) December 6, 2016
Roughead said he was overwhelmed by the support he had, not just from Hawthorn people but all in football.
"We have a fair amount of letters to get through to get back to everyone," he sid.
"You can't thank them enough. This wasn't a game of football where you have to pick a side. You know you have 100 per cent backing and when you have everyone in your corner you know you're going to get through it and that feels pretty good."
Jarryd Roughead in action on the training track on Monday. Picture: AFL Photos