Man of Steele feels the nerves - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Man of Steele feels the nerves

By Justin Chadwick 30/09/2010 04:05:07 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood midfielder Steele Sidebottom is quickly making a name for himself as a big-game AFL player.

But the man with the super hero name tag has revealed he was almost cruelled by a major case of nerves before last week's epic drawn grand final.

"I felt crook in the guts for most of the day. I don't often get nervous," Sidebottom said.

"It wasn't enough that it was going to hold me back, (though)."

Sidebottom first shot to prominence with a 10-goal haul in the 2008 TAC Cup grand final, convincing Collingwood to snare him with pick No.11 in the national draft later that year.

And the 19-year-old has repaid that faith in spades, regularly excelling in big games for the `Pies.

In last year's semi-final win over Adelaide - Sidebottom's first season at Collingwood - he tallied 25 possessions and laid 10 tackles.

In this year's finals series, Sidebottom kicked three goals against the Bulldogs, two goals against Geelong before collecting 19 possessions in an influential performance against the Saints last week.

"I don't (treat) a normal game any different to a big game," Sidebottom said.

"I suppose when it is a bigger game, there's more at stake and you look forward to the bigger games even more.

"It must help me out a bit."

And after coming ever so close to tasting the ultimate glory last week, Sidebottom is even hungrier for success after being on hand to watch his two brothers, 27-year-old Tyson and 21-year-old Ryan, lift the premiership cup for Shepparton United in the Goulburn Valley Football League last Sunday.

"I wasn't planning on going up (to watch my brothers) because I thought we would get a result (in the AFL grand final)," Sidebottom said.

"But we got the draw and I headed back down there for the game and got to see them win."

Collingwood's inaccuracy in front of goal has plagued them all year, with their return of 9.14 costing them victory against St Kilda.

Sidebottom said the team was doing everything within its powers to address the issue.

"It's hard to get the same pressure that's in a game at training," he said.

"After every drill, we do our goalkicking and then we have 10 shots during training and then we do extras afterwards as well.

"So we do enough, it's probably just the pressure out there is getting to us a little bit."

But Sidebottom was adamant the big crowds weren't a factor, given it is a usual occurrence for Collingwood.

"I suppose some of the other clubs might only play in front of 10,000 or something each week," Sidebottom said.

"But I suppose it does help when we can play in front of the big cards early (in the season) so when we do play in the finals it's not a whole lot different, the boys are pretty much used to it."

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