On the comeback following his cancer battle, Ben Cunnington is providing a significant boost for downtrodden North Melbourne.
The veteran midfielder has been ramping up his training schedule at Arden St as he eyes a remarkable return to the AFL.
The Kangaroos have not had much to smile about this season as they sit 1-12 following 11 straight defeats and mounting pressure on coach David Noble.
But North will use the next three weeks to decide on a return date for Cunnington, who completed a nine-week course of chemotherapy to treat a secondary testicular cancer diagnosis last November.
"We'll just wait and see how his body recovers, as we start to increase the loads," Noble told reporters on Thursday.
"It's brought a real pep in our step with him coming back out and the boys are very excited to get him back out into some of our main training sets.
"Our fans should be looking forward to something in the next few weeks, we're hoping.
"There's obviously some areas Ben needs to tick off from a medical perspective; diet, running, weights and recovery.
"But he's been really diligent and he's had other players in that rehab group so he's had some company, which is always good."
North will fancy their chances of ending their winless streak on Sunday when they host fellow strugglers Adelaide at Hobart's Blundstone Arena.
"It gives us a chance to go down to Tassie, where we like playing, and we generally get good support down there," Noble said.
Meanwhile, long-time AFL club administrator Geoff Walsh will return to the Kangaroos in a short-term advisory role.
It follows the review of the football department, which North official Daniel McPherson did during their bye week.
Walsh has worked in football for more than 30 years and was a key official at North Melbourne when they won their 1996 and '99 premierships.
He was head of football at Collingwood until 2020 and most recently was a member of a review panel last at Carlton.
The review panel's findings were a factor in the Blues sacking coach David Teague at the end of the season.
Australian Associated Press
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