Ryan gets a taste

Andrew Groves spoke to possible Bushrangers' debutant Ryan Sidebottom prior to heading off to Blundstone Arena.

If Ryan Sidebottom gets the nod and makes his Victorian state debut tomorrow he’s going to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

The right-arm quick has come a long way since moving from the country to become one of the shining lights in Carlton’s pace attack this season.

He will set off for Hobart today with the rest of the Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers squad to take on Tasmania in a crucial Sheffield Shield clash for the Vic boys.

Maximum points from the fixture will secure a home final at the MCG with the side currently sitting top of the standings.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Sidebottom.heat_at_carlton_09-02-13_r17

“But I’m not 100 per cent sure whether I’m in the 11 yet. I’ll find that out on Thursday. It’s just a great experience to get over there with the rest of the guys and learn from them.

“I’ve never been to Tasmania before. In fact I’ve never really been out of Victoria, so I can't wait.”

Cricket connoisseurs will of course notice Ryan shares the same name with a floppy-haired quick who trundled in for England in all formats of the game.

Now at Yorkshire the other Sidebottom is in the twilight of his career, but enjoyed a season with Ringwood as a Crusaders Scholarship player in 1997-98. His namesake is very much at the start of his career.

“When I first came to Carlton Nathan Pilon got a few texts from other players asking if they’d signed the ex-England bowler,” continued Sidebottom.

“There’s a bit of a difference. I don’t have his hair and I bowl right hander, but it made a few people laugh.”

The end of the cricket season would usually mean the start of Sidebottom’s football campaign with Murray Football League outfit Congupna.

However, the 23-year-old has decided to take a step back from the sport in a bid to push forward his cricket career, heading down a different path to younger brother Steele, the star Collingwood AFL premiership player.

He’s been an important cog in the Carlton bowling attack all season, pulling his weight alongside captain and coach Tim Welsford.

Sidebottom was a part of Saturday’s nail-biting victory over North Melbourne, a performance which saw the Blues sneak into the top eight to finish seventh.

Their reward is a trip to Prahran on Saturday in the Quarter Finals. Sidebottom will have to wait and see whether he will play in the fixture.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking on Saturday having to stand there all day and then bat at the end,” he said.

“But it was a fantastic victory for the guys. We’ve had a pretty good season so far, everyone is very upbeat and positive for the finals.

“The Premier competition is the one below state, everyone looks forward to playing in it. We finished seventh in the end but that really doesn’t matter.

“The main thing is we got there. Other teams over the last few seasons have shown it doesn’t matter where you finish, just as long as you get into finals.”

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