ALASTAIR Clarkson expects star Hawk Jarryd Roughead to play with no restrictions on Saturday night in his first game back after a skin cancer scare. 

Roughead had surgery to remove a melanoma from his lip two weeks ago and endured an agonising wait to find out if he faced a more serious and widespread problem. 

But after passing his medical tests and getting approval from his surgeon this week, Roughead will face the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium, and Clarkson expects him to play his usual role both up forward and around the ground. 

He added his triple premiership goal-kicker was "raring to play" and even wanted to return last week against Fremantle.

Teams: this round's full line-ups

"It's such a delicate thing he's been through over the course of the last two or three weeks," Clarkson said on Friday, as the Hawks prepared to depart Melbourne.

"It was pretty much out of our hands from a footy point of view, in a sense, it was just about letting the specialist make determinations on when he was OK to return.

"We're delighted [he's back] but more particularly with the fact he's got a tick in regards to his health and what that means for him in many years to come. 

"He got the tick off on Tuesday so he was able to train in Tassie, non-contact, but twice throughout the course of this week he's done contact stuff at training.

"We'll play him where we need him throughout the course of the game."

The Hawks travelled with two emergencies - James Sicily and Angus Litherland - for what will be Isaac Smith's 100th game. 

Clarkson said Roughead had maintained a positive outlook throughout the traumatic ordeal, which has left him with a sizeable scar and initially a number of stitches underneath his bottom lip.

"That's the nature of the bloke, really," he said.

"He's highly regarded by our footy club and that's one of the reasons why he's so highly regarded – he just so positive with everything he does.

"He's raring to play, he wanted to play last weekend in Tassie. 

"We took him down there, not with the view of trying to play him but with the view of him being amongst the group because he loves his mates and loves being around footy.

"He said, 'I could play this week if you want me to play', but it was never a case because we hadn't had it ticked off by the surgeon." 

The Hawks travelled with two emergencies - James Sicily and Angus Litherland - for what will be Isaac Smith's 100th game. 

Ruckmen Ben McEvoy and David Hale are both in the side to face a Swans team minus its No.1 big man Mike Pyke, who is out with a knee injury. 

Second-year ruckman Toby Nankervis has come in to replace Pyke, after making his debut against Port Adelaide for his one and only AFL game in round 14.

Clarkson said the Hawks would have to compete "just as if it was Mike Pyke playing", with Nankervis and the Swans already proving they could cover his absence.   

"They've got three or four blokes who can roll through that part of the ground; [Kurt] Tippett, Nankervis, [Adam] Goodes albeit he hasn't done much ruck work in recent years but he's capable of going into that area of the ground and doing damage, even as the second ruckman," he said. 

"And they’ve got [Sam] Reid, who's been playing on a wing but doing a lot of second jumping.

"We just need to be mindful of all those variables and what they bring. 

"Nankervis came into the side for the Port Adelaide game and acquitted himself really well, kicked a goal and did some good things both in the forward line and the midfield.

"They haven't selected him because they don't think he can play, he's been selected because they think he can make a contribution to their team and we've got to be mindful of that."