AFL world rallies behind Dermott Brereton after alarming news

The five-time premiership player says he has been 'put through the wringer' by his alarming diagnosis.

Dermott Brereton.
AFL great Dermott Brereton has announced he has been diagnosed with skin cancer. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

AFL legend Dermott Brereton has implored footy fans to take care of themselves in the sun, after revealing he has been diagnosed with skin cancer. The 58-year-old said he had 'been through the wringer' in the early stages of his treatment, with fans rallying behind him on social media.

Brereton, a five-time premiership player for Hawthorn throughout the 1980s, revealed he has had two melanomas removed from his chest and thigh. Additionally, Brereton has undergone chemotherapy treatment for a sun spot on his eye.

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The treatment has taken brutal toll on the former Hawks bruiser, with Brereton admitting special chemotherapy eyedrops to help treat the sun spot had wreaked havoc with his body. Eventually he and his medical team abandoned that plan, instead opting for the spot to be surgically removed.

Speaking to the Herald Sun about his diagnosis, Brereton said he rued the days growing up where efforts to protect your skin from the sun, even using something as basic as sunscreen, was considered 'weak'. He said he hoped to motivate people into taking better care of themselves now than his generation had.

"Melanoma on my thigh and one on my chest so they cut them out and through that I became very vigilant to have a look for all forms of cancer due to over exposure of the sun," Brereton said. "I had another sun spot cancer cut off of my eyeball. We tried to get it with chemotherapy drops but in the end I just gave up, they were too horrible.

"I had my treatment cream morning and night in the last few weeks so that's just starting to settle down a bit now. That rips the s*** out of you but we all have to deal with things."

Dermott Brereton, pictured here at the 2022 AACTA Awards.
Dermott Brereton at the 2022 AACTA Awards. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images for AFI)

Dermott Brereton's warning to fans after diagnosis

Brereton has been a long-time fixture in football commentary since his retirement from the sport back in 1995, doing work for various TV networks over the years. He kicked 464 goals across 211 AFL/VFL games, predominantly for Hawthorn but with late career cameos for Sydney and Collingwood.

“I grew up in the ‘70s, anyone who wore sunscreen was weak,’’ Brereton said. “If you went for the really heavy grade sunscreen you went for 15 plus.

“We used to climb up on a mate’s silver tin roof and put baby oil on ourselves. That’s what we did in the 70s, you breed ‘em ‘tough’.”

On social media, fans were quick to throw their support behind the Hawthorn great. Many took the opportunity also push for people to have their skin checked regularly.

Meanwhile, Hawthorn are preparing for their AFL season opener against Essendon next weekend, with new club captain James Sicily ready for the challenge his increased responsibility will bring. Sicily, who was involved in a pre-season training dust-up with teammate Sam Butler, arguably brings some of the rough and tumble attitude that controversially defined much of the aforementioned Brereton's career.

But the reality is that while the Hawks' key defender was fined twice last season for on-field incidents, it has been several seasons since he was last suspended. Sicily will never be a choir boy on the field, but his outstanding 2022 season demonstrated his capacity to channel that aggression properly.

"I'm quite comfortable with where it sits, in terms of people's perception of me and white-line fever," he told AAP. "I understand that whenever I do something, it's going to be 'there it is', but it's not necessarily the case. But it's the bed I made and I just have to deal with that."

James Sicily kicks the ball.
James Sicily says he won't shy away from his confrontational style of play despite being named Hawthorn captain. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

with AAP

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