Magpies Unfazed by Heat, Sidebottom Confident on Grand Finale Eve

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A tranquil Steele Sidebottom enthusiastically revealed that his team, the Magpies, are thoroughly savouring the anticipation leading up to the grand finale. The forecast of warm weather has not ruffled any feathers among his teammates.

Though the seasoned Collingwood player readily admitted that Brisbane would perhaps be better acclimated to the heat, he didn’t seem worried about it causing any distress for his team during an expected 29C afternoon at the MCG.

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“Truthfully, I foresee it being demanding on both teams, perhaps more so on us,” Sidebottom candidly shared with journalists. He acknowledged Brisbane’s familiarity with the heat but dismissed the notion that 29 degrees would be problematic. “We’ve been training in these conditions throughout the pre-season. With proper hydration, we’ll be just fine.”

At 32 and a decade past his first championship with Collingwood, Sidebottom reflects on how his younger self took for granted the rarity and prestige of competing in grand finals. A more mature and wiser man now, he admitted, “Back then, I thought playing in grand finals was part and parcel of the game.”

His empathy was evident as he spoke about his teammates Taylor Adams (hamstring) and Dan McStay’s (knee) unfortunate injuries, which will sideline them for Saturday’s match. He expressed their loss as deeply disappointing but underscored their significant role as club leaders, nonetheless.

In the face of McStay’s absence, Sidebottom has full faith in Billy Frampton, asserting that the tall utility player’s aggression will shine in his first final, “We just need him to create a contest, whether as forward or defender.”

As the Magpies geared up in the backdrop of venerable goal-kickers Anthony and Saverio Rocca and thousands of onlookers, Sidebottom shrugged off worries about scoring without McStay. “This time of year it’s defence that wins games, keeping the opposition to a low score is our strategy, which has proven successful in the past.”

A charming personal note spruced up his talk about Friday’s grand final parade, the first he’d be attending with his young daughter, Matilda. He eagerly shared, “I’m grateful to be a part of this. This time, I’ll be able to bring Matilda along and enjoy the festivities with my family – to be amidst a sea of black and white jumpers.”

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