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Jack Ginnivan lifts the lid on the moment he knew he had to leave Collingwood

The Hawks forward said decided to leave Collingwood after coming under fire for attending the races the night before the grand final.

Hawthorn forward Jack Ginnivan says he knew he had to leave Collingwood after coach Craig McRae called him out for going to the horse races the night before the 2023 AFL grand final. Weeks after playing a crucial role in Collingwood's flag win, the Anzac Day medallist was offered a four-year deal to play for the Hawks - a club he grew up supporting.

Ginnivan ended up accepting the deal, in what was one of if not the biggest transfer of the AFL off-season. After a tumultuous 12 months at Collingwood, which included a two-match ban for illicit drug use, Ginnivan landed in the headlines once again for attending the Mooney Valley races on grand final eve.

Pictured Jack Ginnivan
Jack Ginnivan said decided to leave Collingwood after coming under fire for attending the races the night before the grand final. Image: Getty

In McRae's post-grand final winning speech, when asked about his forward's attendance at the races the night before he said: "Read the room, Jack." That line saw Ginnivan's pre-match activities brought under the microscope as the forward copped backlash for not taking his grand final preparations seriously.

Ginnivan revealed following McRae's remarks he knew he needed to leave the club. The forward then said he knew he had made the right call when while conducting the exit meeting no one at the club reached out and said we want you to stay.

"Me and my mate went there (at Mooney Valley races) at 6:30(pm) and got home at 9:30(pm). Like, it wasn't really that big of a deal," the 21-year-old told the Tommy Talks podcast.

"I don't think it's a mistake from my behalf, but probably just how people perceived it. It didn't look great, which would be the only thing I would change. Nothing really came of it until 'Fly's' (McRae) press conference and my exit meeting, and that was sort of when I knew I probably should leave.

"That was a bit of an eye-opening (moment), that exit meeting. The most disappointing thing was probably just no coach or player reaching out to say, 'I want you to stay and we really value you,' and all those things."

Despite the backlash from his racecourse attendance, Ginnivan still went to Collingwood's Mad Monday celebrations dressed as a jockey. "They're actually (jockey) Craig Williams's silks," Ginnivan said.

"I got them on the Friday night at the Valley because I was with a few people from the Valley that got us into the box and just looked after us. I didn't even know that it would blow up, so I thought I might just go as a jockey because I like horses."

AFL umpires called out for 'unfair' Jack Ginnivan treatment

Ginnivan had several umpiring decisions go against him during Hawthorn's Easter Monday defeat to Geelong. The Hawk has brought scrutiny on himself ever since he revealed in 2022 that he tries to stay on his feet to seek out high contact from opponents as a way of winning free kicks.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Sam Mitchell, Senior Coach of the Hawks and Jack Ginnivan of the Hawks are seen after a loss during the 2024 AFL Round 03 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 01, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Jack Ginnivan was at the centre of several questionable umpiring decisions during Easter Monday's loss against Geelong. (Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Since those comments umpires have seemingly been more alert to his attempts to win free kicks. In Monday's match against Geelong though, commentators suggested that Ginnivan's reputation had come back to bite him after several high shots on the Hawthorn star weren't paid by the umpires.

"That’s twice he’s been clearly tackled around the head," Brian Taylor said in commentary for Channel Seven. "I don't think he bent at the knees until he was clearly tackled around the head. I reckon he’s deserved a couple today he hasn’t got. It’s been remarkable. There’s been at least three, possibly five today against Ginnivan they have not paid simply because of the history. He can consider himself very unlucky today."

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Coach Sam Mitchell said after the game he will watch the match back and will be in touch with the AFL if he feels he was umpired unfairly. "If he is (being umpired differently), then the AFL has a process to get in touch with them," Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell said after the match. "If we re-watch them and have a look and think he's getting unfair treatment, then I'll get in touch with the AFL this week and get them to have a look at it."

with AAP