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18 Feb

Sidebottom “phenomenal” for AFL’s Magpies

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Steele Sidebottom has been phenomenal in the Collingwood’s AFL finals run, teammate James Aish says.Steele Sidebottom has been so good this AFL season, there are times when Collingwood’s game plan is simply to give it to him.
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The Brownlow bolter and lock-down favourite for the best player of the AFL finals has been un-containable this season.

He’s also the man judged most likely to win the Norm Smith medal.

And that’s evident when you consider the esteem he’s being held in by his teammates.

“If I see him I’ll give him the ball because that’s the best thing almost always,” fellow Magpies midfielder James Aish said.

“His year has been phenomenal. I’m sure he has to win the finals award.

“You know whenever he has the ball you’re safe as a team and he’s going to do something.”

Eagle Mark Hutchings is the man most likely to get the job on Sidebottom, who finished runner-up to Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell in Monday’s count.

A strong tag will be crucial to delivering West Coast its fourth premiership.

It’s unlikely to stop Sidebottom winning the Gary Ayres Medal as best finals performer.

Sidebottom is six votes clear of Eagle Jack Redden, the only man who can catch him.

Irrespective of that prize, Aish said he and Pies captain Scott Pendlebury had played a significant role in setting the tone for Collingwood’s unlikely finals run.

The pair both played in the 2010 success and have been crucial sounding boards for younger players.

“During the whole finals, Pendles and Steele have both been enormous,” he said.

“After our first loss to West Coast, they were the first ones to talk after the game. They said we’ve got to treat that as a normal game, learn from it and move on.

“They’ve also made a point to make an effort to enjoy it … to enjoy and take it all in. I go off those guys, they’ve got the experience and know the occasion.”

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