Collingwood Magpies coach Nathan Buckley has spoken frankly about two of his star players breaching the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
Steele Sidebottom and Lynden Dunn are both facing AFL bans over the breaches.
Sidebottom had three different incidents that breached rules and could cop a four-match ban, including for a breach in which he shared an Uber with Dunn after visiting injured Magpies star Jeremy Howe.
Sidebottom also visited the home of former teammate Daniel Wells in Williamstown and was later picked up by police on a street and driven home.
“I can’t actually talk about the investigation at the moment,” Dunn told Nine News Melbourne at Collingwood HQ after news of the breaches made headlines.
“Hopefully it’s resolved and Steele and I can get back to training and playing footy.”
Buckley told reporters on Wednesday that alcohol was a factor in Sidebottom’s breaches.
“Steele obviously needed to get help home and, in his recollection, can’t remember a lot around what happened that evening. He ended up finding himself home earlier the next morning,” Buckley said.
“He’s quite embarrassed about the situation.
“He’s remorseful about the decisions that were made, but he is also in some way confused about what has taken place.
“At some point, obviously, with his drinking he’s made some poor decisions, but his recollection isn’t that great.
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“He hasn’t been drinking as regularly I suppose.
“In conversations with him, he probably hasn’t been consuming as much alcohol and one of the theories is that he wasn’t able to handle what he consumed at Howie’s [Jeremy Howe’s] place.
“In the end they’re all details that try to explain, in some way, what has happened in the evening or Steele’s understanding of it. He’s a suitably embarrassed and very contrite, as you would understand.
“This is an event, not a pattern, and we’re treating it as such and trying to support Steele through it because his major emotion is embarrassment at the moment.”
The AFL are expected to come to a decision today or tomorrow when their investigation is concluded.