North Melbourne have confirmed inspirational onballer Ben Cunnington will make his AFL return this weekend, over one year after his last game.

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.

After further training in Cunnington's journey back to AFL level, interim coach Leigh Adams confirmed on Wednesday that his former teammate would be named for Saturday's trip to Adelaide.

“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.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: Ben Cunnington of the Kangaroos celebrates a goal kicked by Cameron Zurhaar of the Kangaroos during the 2019 AFL round 16 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the St Kilda at Blundstone Arena ground on July 07, 2019 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“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).