AFL gun Jack Ginnivan's candid mental health admission: 'Taken a toll'

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·Sports Reporter
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Collingwood's Jack Ginnivan (pictured right) in a post-match interview.
Collingwood's Jack Ginnivan (pictured right) admitted the headlines in 2022 had taken a toll on his mental health in an honest post-match interview. (Image: Fox Sports)

Collingwood star Jack Ginnivan has revealed the relentless discussion surrounding his polarising style of play has ‘taken a toll on his mental health’.

Ginnivan, 19, was the subject of further scrutiny after a questionable umpiring decision involving the 19-year-old sparked heavy debate on social media during the Pies’ 88-82 victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday.

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The Pies forward, who has been accused of ducking his head to milk free kicks this season, appeared to be tackled high by Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray during the second quarter of the contest.

Despite the high contact, Ginnivan was not awarded a free kick, leading many to once again question whether Ginnivan is being officiated unfairly due to his reputation.

Speaking after Collingwood’s six-point victory, in which he kicked three goals, Ginnivan said he was aware of the non-stop scrutiny he was under, but a strong support network of teammates, family and friends was helping him to manage extra attention.

“It’s definitely taken a toll on my mental health and all that stuff, but I’m here, happy, smiling, when you’re kicking goals and winning it’s beautiful, so (I) can’t complain,” Ginnivan told Fox Footy reporter Sarah Jones.

“I’ve got some strong leaders around me, Darcy Moore, Callum Brown is one of my best mates, he’s looking after me.

“My mum, my family are so amazing, they’re up here every week, so I can’t complain. ‘Fly’ (Craig McRae), he’s a beautiful human, I love him to bits and he’s looking after me day by day.”

Jack Ginnivan praised for honest interview

Ginnivan’s handling of the interview drew praise from a number of AFL pundits.

Magpies head coach Craig McRae acknowledged the added spotlight on his young star, while leaping to Ginnivan’s defence in the process.

“We’re conscious of this,” McRae said post match.

“We see him and we try to protect him. We get to a point where we say maybe enough is enough, let’s look after this kid.

“The way we look at it is you’re going to get some right and get some wrong, and Jack keeps putting himself in the situation where he’s a bit of a spotlight for this stuff.

“This is another great lesson for him, and all of us. I thought there were a couple of opportunities that free kicks were not paid potentially and we just got on with it. You have to – what if it’s a grand final?”

The latest episode involving Ginnivan comes just a week after a similar incident against Essendon prompted his Collingwood teammate Mason Cox to accuse AFL umpires of ‘blatantly ignoring’ foul play against the teenager.

“Wild to think high tackles were put in the game to protect players health and now are being blatantly ignored for a 19 year old,” Cox tweeted.

“How can we think 'the AFL cares about concussions and head high contact' after this.”

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