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The controversial issue of booing the Anzac medallist has reared its ugly head again in the AFL after Collingwood young gun Jack Ginnivan copped some poor treatment from Essendon fans on Monday.
Ginnivan's five-goal effort lifted the Magpies to an 11-point win over Essendon in a thrilling Anzac Day encounter at the MCG.
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In front of 84,205 fans - the largest AFL crowd since the 2019 grand final because of the global pandemic - the 19-year-old starred in his side's 15.3 (93) to 12.10 (82) victory.
The small forward had just 12 disposals but was awarded the Anzac Day Medal as best on ground for his match-winning haul in the traditional blockbuster.
However the decision to give the medal to Ginnivan didn't go down well with some Essendon supporters, who booed the teenager when he was named.
Numerous Bombers fans had earlier been seen giving Ginnivan the middle finger after he kicked the opening goal and gestured for them to be quiet.
"Listen to the disgraceful, disgusting Essendon fans booing a kid on a day like today," one fan wrote on Twitter.
Another wrote: "Shame on Essendon supporters for booing a flamboyant rising champion."
While a third added: "Booing the winner of the Anzac Medal? All class, Essendon supporters."
— Peter Ian Staker (@PIStaker_1) April 25, 2022
— Neil Appleby (@appleshk) April 25, 2022
— Adamo Falsone (@AdamoFalsone) April 25, 2022
Jack Ginnivan wins Anzac medal in Collingwood vs Essendon. Good win Collingwood
Shame on Essendon supporters for booing a flamboyant rising champion https://t.co/8zGWk2kaSm
— Roccosmum 🗣 (@RoccoHowat1) April 25, 2022
Did I just hear booing to the winner of the Anzac medal?? #AFLDonsPies
— • Georgia (@gamor11) April 25, 2022
— Mags (@magthered) April 25, 2022
— Jimmy (@Jimmy_James67) April 25, 2022
It evoked memories of the 2019 Anzac Day game when Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury was booed after winning the medal.
Pies coach Nathan Buckley famously said after the game: "Shame on anyone who booed a champion."
Jack Ginnivan shines in Anzac Day thriller
Ginnivan copped heat from critics (notably Kane Cornes) for supposedly over-celebrating a round-one victory and responded by dying his hair blonde.
"I love it," Ginnivan said not long after accepting the Anzac Day Medal as best afield.
"It was hard last year with zero crowd but when people doubt me, judge me, whatever, I really feed off it.
"I'm just trying to be myself. Whatever people say about me, I don't really care.
"I know I've got people in my corner supporting me, helping me and backing me in, so I'm just trying to be myself."
Cornes was particularly critical of Ginnivan's celebrations after Collingwood's opening win over St Kilda.
That criticism, an on-field tussle with Geelong captain Joel Selwood and even Ginnivan's new haircut have all increased attention on the 19-year-old forward.
"I've had it (scrutiny) since I was a young kid," Ginnivan said.
"I love being competitive and I love when people doubt me.
"It gives me the edge to go out and show them what I've got, so that's how I dealt with it."
In his 10th senior appearance, Ginnivan kicked the first goal of the game, twice put Collingwood back in front when Essendon challenged during the third quarter and gave the Magpies crucial breathing space with his fifth major during the final term.
"That's what I get paid to do, kick goals and put pressure on," he said.
"I just go through my routine and lock them in."
Ginnivan said the support of coach Craig McRae, assistant Hayden Skipworth and club psychologist Jacqui Louder, as well as his family and friends, had been crucial to his development.
McRae said he was instantly impressed by Ginnivan when he arrived as Collingwood's new coach late last year.
"He's had a great start to the year and we missed him dearly in the last game (when he had a calf injury)," McRae said.
"We want him to be himself, you hear him being himself, we want him to be authentic and we want him to know we've got his back."
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