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Sidebottom to miss finals following birth of child

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21st September, 2020
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Logistical issues around COVID-19 quarantine protocols have seen Steele Sidebottom ruled out of returning for Collingwood’s AFL finals campaign.

The All-Australian midfielder has not played since round 13, having left the Magpies’ travel bubble for family reasons.

His partner Alisha gave birth to the couple’s first child – a daughter named Matilda – last week.

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley on Saturday said Sidebottom and his young family had indicated a desire to join the team in Queensland.

But logistical issues around COVID-19 quarantine protocols, combined with the uncertainty of finals fixturing, have since seen them decide to remain in Victoria.

“Steele and Alisha have made a call that is completely understandable and one we wholly support,” Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh said.

“Their comfort and security as a family was always the most important consideration.”

Under current Queensland COVID-19 restrictions, players entering the state must quarantine for 14 days before training with teammates and playing matches.

It meant Sidebottom would have been unlikely to return until at least the second week of finals.

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He also would have had to contend with a compromised training program while in quarantine.

Collingwood will play an elimination final in week one but are still waiting for their final ladder position and opponents to be determined.

A win over top side Port Adelaide on Monday night would secure sixth spot for the Magpies, giving them the right to select the venue for a ‘home’ final.

They could slide as low as eighth with a loss.

“We’re not projecting too far forward,” Buckley said.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge on Monday against one of the more consistent sides of the season, the ladder leaders at the moment.

“That’s consumed us and it’s obviously a great opportunity for us to really test ourselves and what we feel has been slow and steady development over the last five or six weeks.”

© AAP