MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 08: Steele Sidebottom of the Magpies looks on during the round 16 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 8, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Collingwood announced their leadership squad for this upcoming AFL season, with a surprising selection as vice-captain according to SEN’s Tim Watson.

Scott Pendlebury will lead the Pies for an eighth consecutive season, but it’s the appointment of Steele Sidebottom as the second-in-command that has Watson raising an eyebrow.

“We know that Steele Sidebottom last year was handed a four-match ban by the AFL for breaches of its COVID-19 return to playing protocols,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast.

“I know he apologised and was very sorry, but that wasn’t the type of leadership that you would be expecting from one of your more experienced and mature players at your football club.

“What do you have to do to actually get turfed out of the leadership group?”

Sidebottom was found by police in an intoxicated state in July last year, breaching the AFL’s strict COVID-19 protocols when visiting the homes of Jeremy Howe and former team mate Daniel Wells.

“I’ve got nothing against Steele Sidebottom, I’m sure he’s a fine young man and he does the right thing most of the time,” Watson added.

“But when you step out of line like he did… it’s an honour to have been elevated into a leadership position and there are certain responsibilities associated with that.”

Former Melbourne great Garry Lyon saw the situation a little differently, wanting to know what sort of leader he will be to the Pies in 2021 whilst also acknowledging Watson’s thoughts.

“He may have that many credits in the bank that Collingwood said, ‘Look, your upside has been enormous, this is a bad mistake, but we still want to back you in’,” Lyon said.

“Maybe this was the time for them to look at it and go, ‘Steele, now is the time for you to finish your career as just a fantastic contributor, but not be recognised as an official leader.’

“Whether it was out of character or not, you would think that precludes you from being a leader.”

Midfielder Taylor Adams and defender Jeremy Howe join Sidebottom as vice-captains to Pendlebury, while ruckman Brodie Grundy, All-Austral Darcy Moore and veteran Jordan Roughead round out the leadership group.

Collingwood will be looking to get their 2021 campaign off to a good start following a damning off-season, with the Magpies set to face the Bulldogs at the MCG on Friday, March 19 in their season opener.