North Melbourne veteran Ben Cunnington's perspective on the game is "at an all-time high" after making a late return to the field last year.
Cunnington made his AFL return against Adelaide in August last year, ending a year-long spell on the sidelines following two bouts of testicular cancer that placed the 31-year-old's playing future in doubt.
After nine weeks of chemotherapy and further operations to remove a cancerous tumour from his body, Cunnington stunningly worked his way back to the game to suit up for the Shinboners.
While a calf issue and COVID would also hinder his chances of a return, Cunnington would eventually run out onto the field for North Melbourne in Round 22, collecting 17 disposals in the loss to the Crows.
The Cobden product would again feature in the Roos' final game of the season against the Suns the week after, before enjoying an off-season break and eventually returning to pre-season training.
Speaking to North Media, Cunnington said his health is "going great", and that he is excited to be back on the track and training ahead of his 14th season with the Kangaroos.
"(My) health is going great," he said.
"Obviously, I'm getting regular check-ups when they come around, but otherwise it's probably more the mindset and appreciation and perspective that's at an all-time high for the game at the minute.
"I'm absolutely loving just kicking the football with the boys, running around, sweating, getting to work and hopefully we can get some wins this year.
"But just to be back out there amongst the boys, it's been great."
A newfound level of optimism has struck Arden Street in recent months, with new coach Alastair Clarkson leading the young Roos in the wake of their wooden spoon finish to 2022.
The likes of senior talent in Cunnington, Todd Goldstein and Jack Ziebell will hold critical roles under Clarkson as they look to nurture the new ranks of young guns at North Melbourne.
One neophyte who has impressed Cunnington the most over the pre-season is father-son sophomore Jackson Archer, who has gained plaudits from the dual Syd Barker Medal winner for his efforts across the opening weeks of training.
"If I was going to go with one I'd go with 'Arch'," Cunnington said when asked on which teammate has caught his eye.
"He's absolutely leading the way with our running and not leaving any stone unturned.
"He's definitely been impressive."
Cunnington will be eyeing a Round 1 appearance for the Roos when they match up with West Coast at Marvel Stadium to kickstart their 2023 campaign on Saturday, March 18.
With 229 games under his belt already, a full season would see Cunnington reach the 250-game milestone, becoming the 13th player at the club to reach the benchmark.