You want to play with Steele Sidebottom

You want to play with Steele Sidebottom

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Before Steele Sidebottom plays his 200th game on Sunday, teammate and close friend, Jeremy Howe, provides a unique insight into ‘Sidey.’

Many players are a jack-of-all-trades but a master-of-none. Well, I can tell you that Steele Sidebottom is a master of all.

He’s so good at everything that it becomes annoying and frustrates the rest of us. Golf, cricket, table tennis and obviously Aussie Rules footy, you name it and he’s coordinated at it.

I had never run into Sidey before I got to Collingwood but I remember everyone telling me that we would get along great after I found out that I was going to the Magpies.

He has this personality that draws people in. He’s infectious and one of the more charismatic blokes you’ll ever meet.

He suffers a severe case of FOMO — he really hates missing anything. He’s an entertainer and loves being around people. He brings a lot to the group.

Everyone knows what he’s like on the field.

He’s a superstar player, has been for a long time, and I still don’t know which foot is his preferred — it’s quite special to observe up close.

His preparation is elite but his diet may need a bit of tinkering but we’re all capable of having a cheat meal or two every now and again.

His level of knowledge is another of his many assets. He has the ability to teach younger guys and be a leader out on the ground.

In previous years, Sidey’s role was probably a bit more outside — you’re not going to find a fitter guy — and he spent more time on the wing but in the last 18 months, he’s become an inside midfielder.

I think that’s led to him taking his game to a new level. He has a pig-like attitude, he loves the physical side, hunting the ball and getting his hands dirty — he also doesn’t mind a scrap.

Having Sidey on the inside has allowed guys like Tom Phillips, Chris Mayne and James Aish to flourish on the wing, too, which is always a positive.

I rated Sidey even when I was at Melbourne but being on this side of the fence now, I’m definitely of the opinion that you want to play with and not against him.

When things aren’t going to plan, he’ll get the boys up and going — I don’t think many have that ability — and he’s always first to fly the flag when the opportunity arises.

I never want to play badly because I feel like I’m letting him down. You’d struggle to find someone who would speak negatively about him.

It’s basically impossible to not get along with him, which is probably the thing I like about him the most.

He’s the best at dealing with relationships — he has more friends than anyone I’ve ever known!

His character suits all people. Whether it’s having a quiet night at home or being out when the sun goes down, he’s pretty good at it.

I enjoy the care he has for everyone. Growing up, he was one of five boys and they’re all ripping people, which goes to show the calibre of the Sidebottom family.

Around the club, Sidey’s always keen to set up some gags and pranks. When he’s on the receiving end, he’s not that happy but he’s a bit of a prankster. Actually, the only negative thing about him is he can’t deal with is being on the end of some banter.

All footballers are competitive, some more than others, and Sidey is one of the more competitive people I’ve met.

On the golf course, he hits them very well and he despises being beaten. It gets highly competitive between us and you can throw Adam Oxley in that mix as well.

We can’t do anything without it being a competition. We have a cricket set-up at the club and Sidey’s always the first one to bat and he’ll put a lot of time and effort into trying to get someone out.

He thrives in that competitive environment so it really is no surprise that he’s made it to 200 games. But what’s even better is that he’s playing his best footy after 199 of them under his belt.

What do you think?

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