Jack Ginnivan goes public with eye-opening new gripe about former AFL club Collingwood

Ginnivan says his game suffered at Collingwood due to the club's system.

Hawthorn forward Jack Ginnivan says he is finally enjoying his footy again after leaving Collingwood on the back of winning the flag in 2023. The Hawks star says he is loving the freedom that he has been afforded to play with at the Hawks, stating it is a nice contrast to the "very structured" system at his former AFL club.

Ginnivan burst onto the scene in 2020 at the Magpies, kicking 40 goals to help lift his side from second last on the ladder to a preliminary final in just one season. But in 2023, Ginnivan struggled to recapture the same form during Collingwood’s premiership run and fell out of favour at the club, with GWS recruit Bobby Hill largely preferred over him.

Pictured Jack Ginnivan left and right with Nick Daicos
Jack Ginnivan says he is enjoying the freedom he has been afforded at Hawthorn compared to the “very structured” system at his former AFL club, Collingwood. Image: Getty

Ginnivan was part of the starting 22 on grand final day against Brisbane last year but was largely played out of the game with just seven touches and no goals. While Hill was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground for his four-goal display.

In the weeks that followed, Ginnivan accepted a deal to join his boyhood club Hawthorn on the back of a tumultuous last 12 months at the Pies. Last year Ginnivan was banned for two matches for illicit drug use and landed in the headlines for attending the Mooney Valley races on grand final eve.

But since making the move to Hawthorn in the off-season, the forward has recaptured the form that saw him become one of the AFL's hottest prospects. In 2024, Ginnivan is averaging six more touches per game compared to last year, largely due to being given a licence to roam up the ground more as a forward. And Ginnivan puts his career resurgence down to the culture at the Hawks.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Bobby Hill of the Magpies is congratulated by Jack Ginnivan after kicking a goal during the 2023 AFL Grand Final match between Collingwood Magpies and Brisbane Lions at Melbourne Cricket Ground, on September 30, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Jack Ginnivan was somewhat in Bobby Hill's shadow at Collingwood in 2023.

"Collingwood is a very structured system and it’s very hard to be a forward at Collingwood,” Ginnivan said on SEN on Monday. "Sometimes there were a few dark days where you’re wearing the invisible cloak.

"At Hawthorn, which has been so great for me, you’re allowed to be free and you can go and change over patterns and stuff — whereas at Collingwood you were stuck on one side and things like that. It’s been great to be able to roam free and be able to touch the ball more because I feel like when I touch the ball it can work really well for me.”


Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley handed Ginnivan his debut in 2021, where he made five appearances as a forward. Since then Ginnivan has been utilised in the forward line but the 21-year-old believes he has the potential to play more in the midfield.

"I feel like my midfield capacity is untapped,” Ginnivan said. "I’ve always played forward as a kid and potentially I don’t know what I can do through the midfield.

"With my work rate, I’ve always been able to work hard to get into a hole, but probably I am not that fit enough. But I feel like I’m getting really fit (now). If I can get up the field and touch the ball more it would be a great thing to do."