Magpies all clear on AFL high contact rule

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Collingwood coach Craig McRae says his players are "really clear" on how the AFL's head-high contact rule will be interpreted after they were addressed by a league umpire at training.

Magpies dynamo Jack Ginnivan has been at the centre of debate around players ducking and shrugging tackles to win free kicks, which prompted the league to clarify its position this week.

A clip of Ginnivan was used in a league memo to clubs as one of three examples of players using the techniques.

The move drew criticism from Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge, who said the AFL "flinched" at media criticism.

But the Magpies have no concerns over the rule's application ahead of their important clash with Essendon at the MCG on Sunday.

"It's a tightening of the screws of what was always there," McRae told reporters on Friday.

"It's really clear for me; the guy winning the ball is going to be protected and the ball-carrier, if you duck and bend your knees or whatever it looks like to create the high contact, then that will be interpreted against you."

Ginnivan has been an unwitting lightning rod for criticism of players who attempt to draw high-contact free kicks this season amid suggestions the 19-year-old goal-sneak is being umpired differently to others.

McRae said Ginnivan was not addressed individually by the AFL umpire, who took part in the Magpies' light match simulation session on Friday.

"We think it's bigger than just Jack," McRae said.

"We coach all our players, so we stepped away from having one on ones with Jack and an umpire.

"The umpire directed all of us and we'll play within the rules."

McRae reiterated his belief that there is an art to taking on opposition tacklers and doesn't feel the need to re-train his players in that area.

"I definitely think it's a skill in terms of going into the tackle," McRae said.

"Players are getting really good at it. If anything, they got too good at it.

"But we started at the start of the year around our shape and our hands and getting through traffic.

"That's what we're talking about, the congested game and how you get through traffic."

McRae confirmed Taylor Adams (concussion) and Isaac Quaynor (virus protocols) will return against Essendon.

Ruckman Brodie Grundy will spend another week out of the side as he plots his comeback from a long-term knee injury.

Grundy may return to action through the Magpies' VFL team, which has a bye this week.

"We're just trying to ramp up his volume," McRae said.

"He's physically able to play but we're keen to get him at his optimum to be able to perform at this level."

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