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

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.