Nathan Buckley weighs in on Jack Ginnivan furore as new details come to light

The former Collingwood coach has spoken out after the 20-year-old was hit with a two-game ban.

Nathan Buckley, pictured here next to Jack Ginnivan.
Nathan Buckley has spoken out in the wake of Jack Ginnivan's suspension. Image: Getty

Nathan Buckley has issued a warning to young AFL players in the wake of Jack Ginnivan's drug scandal, after the Collingwood player was hit with a two-game suspension. Ginnivan was out with teammates and other friends in January when he was filmed by a member of the public in a hotel toilet cubicle with an illicit drug.

The video was taken at a Torquay hotel on a players' day off after a pre-season training camp on Victoria's Surf Coast - and came to light after it was offered to a media outlet. Collingwood then became aware of the incident on Thursday night and informed the AFL integrity Unit, which interviewed Ginnivan and found the player guilty of conduct unbecoming.

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The 20-year-old has been hit with a 'strike' under the AFL's illicit drugs policy and has also been suspended for two matches. A second strike will result in a four-match ban and a third strike a 12-match suspension. It will cost Ginnivan his match payments, while he also has a $5000 suspended fine hanging over his head.

According to leading AFL writer Jon Ralph, Channel 7 were the media outlet first offered the footage. Writing in the Herald Sun on Monday, Ralph reported that a deal was struck for Channel 7 not to report on the scandal until Collingwood released a statement and got on the front foot. In exchange, Channel 7 got an exclusive interview with Ginnivan on Saturday night.

"The AFL and Pies needed time to work through that process with the AFL and their integrity team," Ralph wrote on Monday. "So Seven accepted the deal that they would hold off until Saturday at 6pm on the proviso Ginnivan conducted an exclusive interview confessing his guilt."

Discussing the situation on Monday morning, former Collingwood coach Buckley said on SEN radio: “When is it enough to let it go and to see it as a learning opportunity for a 20-year old boy really who is trying to learn how to become a man and an AFL footballer?

“Sometimes they’re going to pop through the surface and sometimes they don’t, but they are learning opportunities and growth opportunities. Society tells us that it happens more regularly than we believe, but for a young player that’s made a blue like that, he’s going to need more support than he is a kick up the arse because he’s already judging himself harshly and accepting a whole heap of criticism as a result."

Jack Ginnivan, pictured here departing from a Collingwood training session at Olympic Park in Melbourne.
Jack Ginnivan departs from a Collingwood training session at Olympic Park in Melbourne. (AAP Image/James Ross)

In the same segment, former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes said he didn't think illicit drug use was as widespread in the AFL and wider society as some have suggested. “I feel like there is a belief that all players are using drugs,” he said.

“That’s not my experience – I never once saw it. Granted I was so naive with stuff like that and I’m still so naive to this day. People would laugh at me for how naive I am, but I never once saw it in 15 years – and that was a long time ago now and perhaps things have changed.

“But why is it just accepted that perception of AFL players and why are we not doing anything about it? We just accept it and we move on...I’m not even critical of Jack Ginnivan because I can’t be, because the industry seems to accept this and we’re not hard enough on it.”

Collingwood captain addresses Jack Ginnivan scandal

Ginnivan returned to Collingwood training on Monday, saying he'd try and win back the support of his teammates. "I'm pretty sorry and remorseful for the actions that I did and I'm ready to get to work today and earn the trust back of the group," Ginnivan told reporters at the Magpies' Olympic Park headquarters.

New Collingwood captain Darcy Moore said the club was disappointed with Ginnivan, but would support the 20-year-old phenom. Moore said: "He's a really bubbly, really popular teammate, he is someone who really lights up the locker room.

"So we really want to see that and we just want to look after his wellbeing. This is obviously an error and a mistake that he's made and we're not interested in shaming him going forward.

"We want to support him and make sure he feels empowered to get back into his training ... I'm sure he's going to learn from this. We're human beings and people make errors of judgement and that's something that Jack has done in this instance."

with AAP

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