Rebekah Stott rejoins Melbourne City as she continues recovery from Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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Football Fern Rebekah Stott opens up about cancer battle (5:27)

Instead of dealing with attacking forays from rival strikers, Rebekah Stott is now firmly focused on fighting a much more serious battle against an unseen opponent. (5:27)

Rebekah Stott's remarkable comeback from Hodgkin's lymphoma has reached another major milestone with the defender signing a one-year contract to join Melbourne City for the coming W-League season.

Stott, 28, received a diagnosis of Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma in early 2021, forcing her to cut short her stint with FA Women's Super League side Brighton & Hove Albion and return to Melbourne to undergo six cycles of aggressive chemotherapy.

Documenting her cancer journey across social media, the 71-time New Zealand international announced on Instagram that was in complete remission in July, days after she returned to the field for the first time, with National Premier League side FC Bulleen Lions, since her diagnosis.

Stott's focus will now turn to City's pre-season, hoping to regain full fitness and set herself up to play a key role in the club's attempt to bounce back from their 7th-placed finish in the 2020-21 W-League campaign.

From there, she has the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in her sights, as well as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

"I'm so aware that it's going to be a hard journey back to try and get back to fitness and back to where I need to be," Stott told ESPN.

"But I'm sure I'll get there and I reckon I'll be better.

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"For W-League, I want to play the whole season. That's my goal. I think I'll be ready for that, so it's a crucial two months at the moment to work hard and get my body back there. I have no doubt that I'll be playing fully for Melbourne City.

"What bigger goal [than the 2023 Women's World Cup] can you have to give you motivation to get back? I don't think there's anything else bigger than that."

Stott's presence has generally boded well for City, the defender being a key contributor to their 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2019-20 Championship-winning seasons. In the 2015-16 and 2019-20 campaigns, she was part of a nigh-on impenetrable backline that conceded just four goals through the regular season.

Stott had stints with Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory prior to landing with City, and she has also played for clubs in England, Germany, Norway and the United States. A constant figure in Football Ferns' squads when fit, she has represented New Zealand at World Cups and Olympics.

"It was incredible," Stott told ESPN when asked about the worldwide support that followed her diagnosis.

"I didn't know that the football world could be so supportive and so amazing. I got so many messages from people that I don't even know.

"It was just so nice to see that people care and that people were wishing you the best and that everyone was behind you."