Steele Sidebottom will miss Collingwood’s upcoming AFL finals campaign to remain in Melbourne with his family.
- Steele Sidebottom will stay in Melbourne after his partner gave birth to their first child last week
- Collingwood said logistical issues made it difficult to have Sidebottom and his family join the club in Queensland
- The Magpies are guaranteed a finals berth but their position on the ladder is yet to be confirmed
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.”
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.