Carlton’s Sam Docherty will return against Richmond in the first round

Carlton defender Sam Docherty will make a stunning return to the AFL in Thursday night’s opener with Richmond – in an inspiring comeback from a battle with cancer.

The 28-year-old underwent chemotherapy after a routine check-up in August showed testicular cancer had returned.

Docherty, who in 2022 is vice-captain under sole skipper Patrick Cripps, is now due to meet Richmond at the MCG on Thursday.

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New Carlton coach Michael Voss confirmed the news Monday night.

“It’s an amazing story,” Voss told Fox Footy.

“It really speaks to the person and their resilience and determination.”

Docherty had 12 weeks of chemotherapy last year after the cancer returned after his initial discovery in November 2020.

The 2017 All-Australian was not considered a chance to play in the first round when he met Voss in September, but has since returned to his optimal playing weight and performed well in a host of hits pre-season.

“At the time, he had lost a lot of weight,” Voss said.

“He was in full treatment and seeing his steady progress was pretty amazing.

“It wasn’t all easy, he had a few hiccups along the way, but he persisted and he managed to do all that work that put him in this position to (play again).

“We wouldn’t put him there under any circumstances with the slightest risk, which shows how ready he is to be able to play in the first round.”

Before Docherty was diagnosed with cancer in 2020, two ACL ruptures erased him from the 2018 and 2019 AFL seasons.

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