STAR Collingwood midfielder Steele Sidebottom faces a ban of up to four weeks for his multiple breaches of the AFL's COVID-19 protocols on Saturday.
AFL.com.au understands the AFL and the Magpies have discussed the potential sanction since Tuesday afternoon, with Lynden Dunn likely to receive just a one-game suspension for his involvement.
The hefty nature of Sidebottom's possible ban owes to his multiple breaches, and the AFL arguing footballers should be better educated by now on the damage those actions can have on the competition.
However, it's understood there is a clause in the AFL's protocols that allows players to attend a house other than a family member if it is for compassionate reasons.
Due to Jeremy Howe's serious injury the night before, this could potentially wipe the first breach of spending multiple hours at his place.
Collingwood is obviously trying to reduce the number of games the club's vice-captain will miss.
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There is a chance the AFL will not release the sanctions on Wednesday.
It was revealed this week that police found Sidebottom on Sunday morning in the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown, where former teammate Daniel Wells lives.
Sidebottom slept at Wells' house on Saturday night and he was trying to find a way home at the time he spoke with police.
"Police officers located a 29-year-old man in Hanmer Street, Williamstown, on Sunday morning, 28 June, just before 7.30am," Victoria Police told AFL.com.au.
"He was not charged with any offence and after speaking to police was conveyed home."
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Dunn drove to Howe's home the previous day, where Howe and Sidebottom were already drinking.
It's understood Dunn was under the impression he and Sidebottom would be picked up but that situation changed, and they instead shared an Uber to Dunn's house as neither was in a position to drive.
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.
AFL footballers are not permitted to 'rideshare' under the COVID-19 protocols.
Dunn's night ended when they arrived at his home, but Sidebottom then went to Wells' place.
Wells is now a part-time Magpies employee but not among the approved staff members who can have contact with players.