One of the greatest full backs of all time, Matthew Scarlett, has undergone surgery to remove a spinal cord tumour.

The 36-year-old triple premiership player, had been suffering from severe back pain over the past few years, according to a revealing Instagram post by his wife Milla.

She said surgeons removed a large tumour from his spinal cord during a four hour operation and that the Cats champion also underwent additional surgery on his vertebrae.

“His brilliant surgeon managed to remove the inside of the tumor — which appears to be benign and will hopefully help relieve the back and sciatic pain he has battled through over the years,” she wrote in a tribute to the father of their three children.