Steele Sidebottom ruled out Collingwood’s AFL finals campaign due to family reasons

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Steele Sidebottom will miss Collingwood’s upcoming AFL finals campaign to remain in Melbourne with his family.

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

The All-Australian midfielder has not played since round 13 after leaving the Magpies’ travel bubble.

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 in a statement.

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

An AFL player wheels away in celebration with his fists clenched after kicking a goal.
Sidebottom made nine appearances for the Magpies this season.(AAP: Darren England)

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, the Magpies vice-captain, would have been unlikely to return until at least the second week of finals.

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

The Magpies 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 to the Power.

Sidebottom only played nine matches for the Magpies this season.

He served a four-match suspension earlier in the season for breaching the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols.

AAP/ABC

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