Buckley: Ginnivan's AFL feats will speak for themselves
Jack Ginnivan clearly has the talent, now Collingwood great Nathan Buckley is keen to see how the AFL forward handles the fallout from his recent scandal.
Buckley says the proof will be in the pudding when Ginnivan returns in round three from his AFL suspension for conduct unbecoming.
The 20-year-old was sanctioned last month by the league and the Magpies after video was made public of Ginnivan with what he later admitted was an illicit substance.
Buckley, one of the greatest figures in Collingwood's history and now an AFL commentator, was as impressed as anyone by Ginnivan's breakout season last year.
But the former Magpies coach and captain says Ginnivan must now prove himself all over again.
"Whether you're pigeon-holed or stereotyped at the very professional end ... or at the talented, less-professional end, at any single point in time you can find yourself on different parts of that spectrum," Buckley told AAP.
"As you learn and as you develop, eventually your work habits and willingness to invest in your craft and the team ... ultimately, your performances will speak for themselves.
"In a very short period of time, his performances have spoken for themselves, regardless of how people view his commitment to the game or his commitment to the team, or to his professional obligations.
"There's been something that's popped to the surface that rightfully has been condemned.
"But it's going to be a product of his whole pre-season, to see whether he's ready to go in round three or whether he's now put himself back in the ruck."
Buckley was careful in his comments about Ginnivan, noting the challenge at this time of the year is not too different for any AFL player, regardless of their circumstances.
"Whether he separates himself as a player who's going to contribute significantly to the team's best footy - you've got to prove that, it doesn't matter if you're Jack Ginnivan or Scott Pendlebury," Buckley said.
"You have to prove that year-in, year-out - week-in, week-out."
Ginnivan made his AFL debut in 2021 - Buckley's last season as Magpies coach.
Back then, Ginnivan was a player lacking fitness who was yet to prove himself.
Last year, he kicked 40 goals and stamped himself as a future star.
"I still wouldn't have expected him to have the year he had in '22, especially with all the scrutiny he faced, but all credit to him," Buckley said.
"That's a bloody hard role to play, but he found his niche ... he stood up in some big games and there's still a lot of growth there as well. He's not a complete product."
Another big story in Collingwood's pre-season has been Darcy Moore succeeding Pendlebury as Collingwood captain.
Buckley was impressed with Moore's public comments about the Ginnivan suspension - an early issue for the new skipper to handle.
While Buckley noted he has not coached Moore for 18 months, he called the appointment "an inspired choice".
"We've already seen the way (Moore) handled the Ginnivan comments, speaking on behalf of the club and on behalf of the locker room," Buckley said.
"He was brilliant. He was succinct, he was fair, he held Jack to account and set standards he believes his teammates need to stand up to."