Collingwood star Steele Sidebottom has told his club that next week he will leave the Queensland isolation bubble to return home to Melbourne to be with Alisha Edwards, a pregnant girlfriend.
Sidebottom is reportedly coming back to Melbourne as early as Tuesday — leaving him in a race against the clock to return before the end of the season for the Magpies.
Reports announced on Friday evening Sidebottom and Edwards would celebrate the birth of their first child due on September 12 in a situation that could have contributed to rumours that Sidebottom played his last game of the year.
Widespread reports suggested that on September 1 Sidebottom may have tried to secure a seat on the AFL’s last chartered flight from Melbourne to Brisbane — but Collingwood president Eddie McGuire announced on Friday night that Sidebottom will stay in Melbourne until his first child is born.
With the AFL home and away season finishing on Sunday, September 20, Collingwood will have to qualify for the 2020 Finals Series to compete again next season for Sidebottom.
McGuire told Fox Footy the Magpies earlier this year gave their support for Sidebottom to leave the Queensland hub to be their for the birth of his child.
“It’s always been this way, by the way, it’s not a new story,” he said.
“It might be new to everybody here, but obviously Alisha is having a baby, their first baby, and it wasn’t applicable (for her) to go up to Queensland.