North Melbourne star Ben Cunnington has cancer setback

Ben Cunnington of the Kangaroos. Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

North Melbourne star Ben Cunnington has had a setback in his cancer battle and needs a nine-week course of chemotherapy.

But the AFL club says the midfielder is expected to make a full recovery.

The Kangaroos said in a statement on Saturday that a routine post-surgery check had detected a secondary cancer.

He had surgery in July for a testicular tumour.

In August, Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty also needed chemotherapy after a secondary cancer was discovered.

Like Cunnington, the setback came after Docherty had surgery late last year for testicular cancer.

Cunnington's news comes the day after the Kangaroos announced they are debt-free for the first time since 1987, with former coach Dani Laidley making a rare public appearance to help celebrate the milestone.

The dual club best and fairest winner has played 227 games for North since his 2010 AFL debut.