Steele Sidebottom relished the opportunity to get back to the country on Saturday at the Murray Football Netball League grand final day.
‘‘I haven’t really been back to Shepp at all, I’ve been back a little bit but not so much to watch the footy, so to get back and watch a bit of footy is great,’’ he said.
The Tallygaroopna export was at Rumbalara in an official capacity, as part of Carlton Draught’s Community Cans initiative.
‘‘I’ve actually come here through Carlton Draught, every beer that gets sold in the tent today all the money goes back into the regional footy league,’’ Sidebottom said.
‘‘So hopefully we see everyone in there buying a few beers and pumping a bit of money back into the footy leagues.’’
No stranger to the biggest day of the year after booting 10 goals in the 2008 TAC Cup grand final and playing in a Collingwood premiership in 2010, Sidebottom’s advice to those playing was simple.
‘‘Have fun and enjoy it,’’ he said.
‘‘They don’t come around all that often, so they’ve got their chance so just enjoy it and have fun.’’
The Sidebottoms are a massive sporting family in the region, and Sidebottom said his battles with brothers Ryan, Tyson, Trent and Josh in the backyard were always exciting.
‘‘There was a few tussles under the clothesline every now and then and the old man used to say if you wanted the title then you had to take him on underneath the clothesline, so there was plenty of work done underneath Mum’s clothesline,’’ Steele said.
Sidebottom has notched 185 games for the Magpies, but still pinches himself that his day job is to play football.
‘‘It still feels like I’ve played about five games to be honest, so I definitely haven’t sat back and thought about all the games that I’ve played and the people that have gotten over that 200 game mark, but I’m obviously very fortunate to be in the position I am,’’ he said.
‘‘I love my job playing footy and hopefully I’ve still got a few more years to go yet.
‘‘That (playing finals) is the plan, but the last three years it hasn’t gone to plan, so we need to get back playing finals and getting to play in some good weather like this is always good.’’