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Sidebottom on pre-season and captaincy

Steele fronts Gold Coast media Watch as leader Steele Sidebottom puts the club's Gold Coast camp into perspective and forecasts what's ahead for the Magpies in 2018.

Collingwood leader Steele Sidebottom believes the club has settled after the completion of a club-wide review complete and is once again ready to reach for a top eight position in 2018.

Speaking to media after an open training session on the Gold Coast, Sidebottom struggled to remember a time in recent history when he had felt as positive of the team’s direction.

“It’s as good of a place to be around as it has been for a while,” the 2010 premiership player told reporters.

“Whenever you rock up to work every day and have fun and enjoy it… everything else in life rolls along.

“I’m loving coming to training and I’m sure everyone else is too.”

Gone are the Collingwood pre-seasons involving two-to-three week high-altitude missions in Arizona and Utah. Instead, a normal training week has been sent to Queensland – albeit with added heat and humidity.

Wednesday’s open session at Southport was short, sharp and filled with game-like intensity. In just under an hour of match simulation, players split into two teams and carefully practiced stoppages and kick-in set plays.

The session ended with goal-kicking practice, a fiercely competitive exercise with implications towards a points-system running through the entire camp.

Morale was high and voices were loud.

“I love when we get away,” Sidebottom said.

“The more time you spend together off the field, it can only help on the field as well.”

Under the guidance of former captain Nick Maxwell, the entire playing group are spending time on the Gold Coast improving their leadership capabilities.

Sidebottom says the players “need to tap into Maxy”, but doesn’t believe there will be a change in captaincy in 2018.

“I definitely expect Scott (Pendlebury) to be captain,” he said in response to suggestions of a fresh face leading the club.

“Pendles does a great job and I wouldn’t expect to see any change in our captaincy – not only this year, but in the next couple of years.”

Collingwood’s players will remain on the Gold Coast until Saturday morning. The Magpies’ will train again at Southport on Friday morning (9:15am, local time).