North Melbourne player Majak Daw has been found not guilty of all three counts of rape at a Melbourne party eight years ago.
Daw let out a sigh of relief when the verdict was handed down by the jury, while family members present in court could be heard clapping, according to the Nine Network.
When Judge Mark Dean told Daw he could leave the dock he walked over to his visibly relieved family and embraced them.
“It’s been a tough time, a tough nine days,” Daw told waiting media outside.
“I just want to thank all my family and friends for being here for me.
“I’ve been through this, I can get through anything in life.”
North Melbourne officials and Daw’s manager Adam Ramanauskas were also present at the hearing.
The 24-year old AFL player had pleaded not guilty to all charges brought by a girl he hooked up with at an Altona house party in 2007.
Daw told a jury himself and the girl had not had sexual intercourse, although some consensual sexual activity had taken place.
“I thought she was very much in control,” he told the jury on Monday.
“She initiated it. I was happy enough to be engaging. We were both kissing… she was very happy to be doing this.”
The complainant reported the incident to police in 2007, but did not decide to pursue charges until 2014.
The jury took one day to reach its verdict.
Daw, who arrived in Australia as a Sudanese refugee in 2003, was 16 at the time of the alleged incident.
North Melbourne de-listed him in October, only to draft him as a rookie recently.