AFL grand final: Steele Sidebottom says Magpies can handle heat

A relaxed Steele Sidebottom says the Magpies are enjoying every minute of the build-up to the grand final, with the hot weather forecast of no concern to his teammates.

The Collingwood veteran conceded Brisbane would be more used to the heat than his side as the grand finalists prepare for a 29C afternoon at the MCG but did not think the conditions would be foreign enough to create problems for the home team.

“I don’t know to be honest, it’s going to take a toll on both (sides), potentially more on us,” Sidebottom told reporters on Thursday.

“They’re used to the hot weather up there, but 29 degrees isn’t too bad, we train in it all pre-season, so plenty of hydration, fluids and we’ll be right.”

The Magpies wingman, who was only 19 when he played in Collingwood’s last premiership in 2010, said it had taken years into his career for him to appreciate how special it was to play in a grand final.

“Less hair,” he quipped when asked how he had evolved since 2010.

“I’d like to think that I’m a bit more mature and wiser than back then. I was a bit young and just thought that (playing in grand finals) was normal.

“I debuted in 2009 and played in a prelim and then a couple of grand finals after that … probably took it for granted a little bit, and now that I’m a little bit older I understand that they don’t come around that often.”

Sidebottom, 32, said he felt deeply for teammates Taylor Adams (hamstring) and Dan McStay (knee) as they prepared to watch from the stands on Saturday.

“It’s disappointing to see guys miss out with (Adams) and (McStay) – it seems like this time of year there’s always those stories,” he said.

“As disappointing as it is for them, they’ve still got a role to play for us, both leaders at our footy club.”

He said McStay’s replacement, tall utility Billy Frampton, had the right attributes to thrive in what would be his first final.

“The big strength I believe in Chooka (Frampton) is he’s got that real aggression, and I think that stands up in big games, guys that crack in,” Sidebottom said.

“We’re not expecting him to go out there and do too much, we just need him to go out and create a contest, whether it’s forward or back.”

As former Pies goalkicking greats Anthony and Saverio Rocca joined thousands watching Collingwood’s open training session on Thursday, Sidebottom said his team was not concerned about where a winning score would come from without McStay.

“I’d like to think everyone chips in at some stage, but I think at this time of the year it’s defence that wins games of footy, and it’s probably shown in the past,” he said.

“If we can keep our opposition to a low score, we believe we can pip that by whatever margin that is.”

Sidebottom said Friday’s grand final parade would be extra special for him as the first he could bring his young daughter Matilda along to.

“I’m very excited … it’s just something that I’m really grateful to be a part of. Last time in 2018, I didn’t have a kid, so I’ll be able to take my daughter tomorrow and sit with Howie with his little son Zander as well.

“Just really take it all in and hopefully see a sea of black and white jumpers tomorrow.”

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