ALL-AUSTRALIAN midfielder Steele Sidebottom is one of two Collingwood players under investigation for multiple breaches of the AFL's strict COVID-19 protocols on Saturday.
AFL.com.au became aware on Monday of the Magpies vice-captain's transgressions and it's believed rigorous negotiations continue between the AFL and Collingwood.
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The AFL confirmed only that it was looking at a reported breach of its protocols. However, Collingwood confirmed in a statement to AFL.com.au that Sidebottom and Dunn were "under investigation for breaches of the AFL's return to play protocols".
Both footballers face suspension. Sidebottom and Dunn, who was part of the club's leadership group last year, shared an Uber on Saturday evening and Sidebottom later visited a staff member who is not living under the game's protocols.
They were earlier at Magpies teammate Jeremy Howe's home to console him after his serious knee injury the previous night.
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Sidebottom can't return to the Holden Centre until he has a COVID-19 test and is cleared but that is still being determined for Dunn, given it's believed he spent only about 15 minutes in an Uber.
The Pies self-reported the breaches on Sunday afternoon to the AFL, which interviewed both players on Monday.
They spent part of Saturday drinking with Howe, who suffered his first major injury setback the night before against Greater Western Sydney.
Howe will undergo knee surgery on Thursday and faces months on the sidelines after rupturing the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and also damaging medial ligaments.
AFL.com.au understands Sidebottom and Dunn left Howe's house and travelled together in an Uber – which is not allowed under the protocols – to Dunn's home, with the latter's night ending there.
However, Sidebottom then went to former Collingwood player and part-time club employee Daniel Wells' house, breaking AFL rules again.
Wells is not living under the League-directed protocols or among the approved staff members who can be in contact with players.
He retired last year but now works with the Pies' Indigenous community programs, as well as contributing to their recruiting and Academy departments.
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There have already been five breaches of the AFL's protocols, with Essendon's Conor McKenna and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Melbourne's Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett, and Port Adelaide's Ollie Wines suspended.
Spargo was the only player in that group to receive more than a one-week ban, while McKenna was the sole member to test positive for COVID-19.
The news of these latest breaches came on the same day Victoria Police charged Western Bulldog Lachie Hunter after his alleged drunken car crash in April.