Collingwood coach Craig McRae has hit Jack Ginnivan with some more harsh truths over the young gun's pre-grand final trip to the races. Ginnivan raised some eyebrows on the eve of the AFL grand final when he headed out to Moonee Valley to take in some racing action.
Some questioned whether it was the ideal preparation for the biggest game of his life, while others felt there was no harm if Ginnivan wasn't drinking and didn't stay out late. McRae was asked about it during his post-match press conference, and compared Ginnivan to fellow young gun Bobby Hill.
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Ginnivan's time in the top grade was limited in 2023, after he was suspended in the pre-season over an illicit drug scandal. Hill enjoyed a breakout year and won the Norm Smith Medal for his four-goal haul in the grand final.
“It’s the resilience that he’s (Hill) shown that Jack is starting to live. You’ve got to make mistakes and learn from them and get better,” McRae said on Saturday. “Jack’s growing up. Is he the youngest player in our team? I think he could be (after Nick Daicos). There’s so much he learns from today, and don’t go to the races the day before is something I’d say."
McRae added: “Read the room, Jack. You’ve got to grow up, but you’ve got to make mistakes to learn from them. He’s the youngest the player in the room (after Daicos), and he’s got great role models and resilience shown here.
"(Bobby Hill) is a great role model for him. We’ll keep trying to educate. We’re not finished. We are nowhere near finished. We’ll grow and we’ll make more mistakes and then try to get better.”
Craig McRae's new comments about Jack Ginnivan
The premiership coach doubled down on his stance in an appearance on SEN radio on Tuesday. "We just need to keep educating," McRae said. "I'm really determined for us to be really humble...and we want to be winners. I don't know if a winner goes to the races the night before (a grand final).
"We're all different and if that makes you the best player you can be, go to the races. But I don't want to be an old school coach or anything like that. Would it survive the pub test? Are you setting yourself up to be the best version of yourself for tomorrow?"
"I don't know if a winner goes to the races the night before, I'm not sure."
Craig McRae says he can see both sides of the argument surrounding Jack Ginnivan's trip to the races before the Grand Final. @TheRunHome | #AFL pic.twitter.com/1mwWKKtDBq
— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) October 3, 2023
Ginnivan made light of the furore when he wore a jockey's outfit to Collingwood's Mad Monday celebrations. But considering the coach's comments, you have to wonder how long his time at the Magpies will last.
Ginnivan was used as the sub in Collingwood's first two finals games, but was elevated to the starting 22 for the grand final. The 20-year-old had seven disposals in the Magpies' four-point win, which saw them claim their first premiership since 2010 and 16th overall - tying the all-time VFL/AFL record.
He prepared for the GF at Moonee Valley and Jack Ginnivan has rocked up to Mad Monday as a jockey! 😂🐎 pic.twitter.com/1eahYGzaQh
— TAB (@tabcomau) October 2, 2023
McRae said he's determined that Collingwood keep improving and changing, no matter what. "Just constant improvement, try to better our list, look to get involved in free agency if there are opportunities, bring better players in," he told AAP. "Then, without going too far forward, (we create) a new opportunity for some that missed out and getting the right energy levels for those who have tasted."
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