COLLINGWOOD midfielder Steele Sidebottom won't play any part in the Pies' final campaign after the complexity of quarantine and finals fixturing made his planned trip north too difficult.
Sidebottom's partner Alisha gave birth to their daughter Matilda last Saturday night and coach Nathan Buckley told reporters on Saturday morning that the three of them had planned to rejoin the Magpies in Queensland.
But only a few hours later, those plans were called off after discussions with the AFL and Queensland authorities revealed the full extent of the logistical complexities involved.
UPDATE: Sidebottom and family will remain in Melbourne.— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) September 19, 2020
Due to a host of logistical and quarantine complexities to negotiate and the uncertainty of finals fixturing, they have opted to remain in Victoria.
"Steele and Alisha have made a call that is completely understandable and one we wholly support," Collingwood's general manager of football, Geoff Walsh, said of the Sidebottoms' eventual decision to stay in Melbourne.
"Their comfort and security as a family was always the most important consideration."
Under protocols agreed to with the Queensland Government, any AFL players entering the state need to quarantine for 14 days before being able to train and play with their teammates.
The first week of finals runs from Thursday, October 1 to Saturday, October 3, meaning that even if Collingwood was scheduled for a Saturday evening elimination final, Sidebottom would only have been available if the Pies won through to a semi-final.
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Meanwhile, the news isn't as positive for defender Tom Langdon, whose playing future remains in doubt after his long-term knee problem flared during a practice match against Brisbane last month.
"His knee has been problematic and he hasn't done much for the last week and a half," Buckley said.
"It was too sore to continue in the practice match against Brisbane. He’s a very good footballer and an important person at our club."
"There are some decisions to be made by Tom to see what the next steps are."
Langdon, 26, hasn't played since round nine, 2019.