Cunnington has been sidelined since Round 19 last year after requiring surgery on a cancerous tumour, an operation that saw the hard-nosed Roos ruled out of the remaining rounds of the 2021 season.
The emergence of a second tumour and subsequent chemotherapy further delayed Cunnington's return to football, a span that was concluded over the weekend when the 31-year-old pulled on the boots for North Melbourne's VFL side.
Cunnington recorded 18 disposals, 3 tackles, 3 clearances and 4 marks in the performance, showing no sign he had been bereft of on-field action.
“Until it gets taken away from you and you have no control over it you soon realise that you still love it,” Cunnington said, speaking to his teammates.
“I’ve been through what I’ve been through and without the support I have I couldn’t have got through it
“I’m here now, hungry, I feel I have worked hard to be in a position you help you boys out again.
“I’m keen as ever.”
The match will be Cunnington's 228th in the blue and white, a career that includes two best and fairest awards.
The Roos are set to face the Crows at Adelaide Oval at 2:10pm (AEST).