Gawn empathy for AFL rival Ginnivan

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Collingwood dynamo Jack Ginnivan has found an ally in Melbourne captain Max Gawn ahead of the two sides' blockbuster AFL clash on Friday night.

Ginnivan has been a lightning rod for media and public debate around players drawing free kicks for high contact this season, leading to last month's umpiring crackdown on the tactic.

The 19-year-old has performed well under scrutiny and kicked three crucial goals in the Magpies' narrow win over Port Adelaide on Saturday.

But he was also involved in another contentious umpiring decision, penalised for holding the ball when judged to have contributed to Robbie Gray's high contact in a tackle.

Ginnivan then revealed in a post-match interview the intense spotlight has taken a toll on his mental health.

Gawn hopes Melbourne can put the brakes on Ginnivan when the second-placed Demons take on Collingwood, who sit third, but has empathy for the talented young forward.

Speaking at the launch of Melbourne's annual 'Round for Reach', Gawn also drew attention to the level of scrutiny faced by out-of-contract teammate Luke Jackson and Australian swimmer Kyle Chalmers.

Chalmers, who is competing at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, feels victimised and almost quit swimming because of a media smear campaign based around his relationships with teammates Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson.

"It is tough being in the spotlight," Gawn said.

"I mean, (another example is) Kyle Chalmers in the Commonwealth Games with his press conference.

"Media can take down someone like the best of them and Ginnivan's right in the spotlight at the moment, so I do empathise with him.

"If any of our guys are in that same situation, like Luke (Jackson) is at the moment, the press that Luke had over in Perth (last week) was crazy.

"I've never seen anything like it, there was photographers following him around, so these young guys do struggle.

"That's another great time to 'reach' and make sure you're there and supporting these young guys to get through these tough situations."

The 'Round for Reach' recognises the legacy of Jim Stynes and raises funds for The Reach Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation the Demons great co-founded in 1994.

The Reach Foundation connects with young people to uncover what's holding them back and equip them with tools to tackle life's challenges.

Despite intense pressure, Ginnivan has enjoyed a breakout second season with Collingwood, booting 32 goals in 17 games.

Demons ruckman Jackson has also thrived in the face of reports he is likely to leave the club at the end of the year.

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