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Joel Selwood lifts lid on glaring Jack Ginnivan flaw amid recent high-tackle furore

The Geelong great says Jack Ginnivan lifting his arm in tackles is why he isn't being awarded many free kicks.

Geelong great Joel Selwood says Jack Ginnivan only has himself to blame for being treated harshly by umpires. Debate has raged across the sport after Ginnivan was caught in several high tackles that weren't paid as free kicks during his side's Easter Monday loss to Geelong.

Many AFL pundits, commentators and fans believe the 21-year-old is a victim of his reputation and is being officiated by umpires differently to that of other players. The Hawks star admitted during the 2022 season, while at Collingwood, that he often opts to stay on his feet during contests to seek high contact from opposition players.

Pictured left Joel Selwood and right Jack Ginnivan
Joel Selwood says Jack Ginnivan lifting his arm in tackles is why he isn't being awarded free kicks. Image: Getty/AAP

AFL footy executive Laura Kane came out after the Easter Monday clash to admit he missed out on "a couple" of free kicks under the current interpretation but dismissed the claims he was being umpired differently. "We don’t have a different set of rules for a player, for a club or a team. We officiate our games all the same way," she said.

But Selwood believes Ginnivan not being awarded free kicks has more to do with his technique than his reputation. The Collingwood premiership winner has a habit of raising his arm in tackles and Selwood ultimately believes that is what is costing him from earning free kicks.

"The lifting of the arm, they don’t like seeing that at all, the umpires," Selwood said on Channel 7’s Talking Footy. "My advice to Jack, and being in that position a number of times ... it wasn’t ever to not continue the play.

"I always looked for an exit point but also at the same time you’ve got to drive your legs, you’ve got to be stronger than the tackler. Make sure that you try and fight through. Mine on many occasions was to try and continue the play. The last thing that I wanted to do was to stop the play."

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Leigh Matthews blames the AFL as high-contact debate rages on

The officiating of Ginnivan sparked uproar across the game this week and AFL legend Leigh Matthews says the league needs to accept a large portion of the blame. The four-time premiership coach argued part of being a forward is picking the ball up with your head down at speed and keeping it down during contests but under the current interpretations that action isn't looked on fondly.

"When you pick the ball up, what, you’ve automatically got to stand up? How stupid is that?” Matthews asked Sam McClure on 3AW’s Wide World of Sports program. "Any player worth his salt, when you’re down over the ball, you tend to stay down.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Leigh Matthews is seen during the 2023 AFL Grand Final Premiership Cup Presenters Media Opportunity at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 28, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Josh Chadwick/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
AFL legend Leigh Matthews says the league is largely to blame for why players such as Jack Ginnivan are not being awarded free kicks for high contact. (Josh Chadwick/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"I blame (former AFL footy operations boss) Steve Hocking, and I blame (former GM of Football) Brad Scott – whoever else was making those decisions – I mean it’s markedly changed the rights (of the player with the ball).

"We have that many high contacts not being paid, and I blame the AFL hierarchy. I’m not an AFL basher; they’ve marketed the game outstandingly, and almost every decision they make has advanced the sport – but this particular situation... I just think it’s diabolical, and the umpires are now caught completely between a rock and a hard place."