Pies' Ginnivan relishes AFL spotlight

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Most teenagers shy away from the intensity of the AFL spotlight, but not Jack Ginnivan.

This is the kid who copped heat from critics for supposedly over-celebrating a round-one victory and responded by dying his hair blonde.

In front of 84,205 fans on Anzac Day - the biggest football crowd since the start of the global pandemic - Ginnivan kicked five goals in a match-winning display for Collingwood.

And he relished every one of the Essendon fans' jeers at the MCG.

"I love it," Ginnivan said not long after accepting the Anzac Day Medal as best afield.

"It was hard last year with zero crowd but when people doubt me, judge me, whatever, I really feed off it.

"I'm just trying to be myself.

"Whatever people say about me, I don't really care.

"I know I've got people in my corner supporting me, helping me and backing me in, so I'm just trying to be myself."

Former Port Adelaide champion turned media commentator Kane Cornes was particularly critical of Ginnivan's celebrations after Collingwood's round-one win over St Kilda.

That criticism, an on-field tussle with Geelong captain Joel Selwood and even Ginnivan's new haircut have all increased attention on the 19-year-old forward.

"I've had it (scrutiny) since I was a young kid," Ginnivan said.

"I love being competitive and I love when people doubt me.

"It gives me the edge to go out and show them what I've got, so that's how I dealt with it."

For all his bravado, Ginnivan also displayed a sense of calmness and maturity beyond his years in the biggest fixture on the home-and-away on the AFL calendar.

In his 10th senior appearance, Ginnivan kicked the first goal of the game, twice put Collingwood back in front when Essendon challenged during the third quarter and gave the Magpies crucial breathing space with his fifth major during the final term.

They held on to win by 11 points.

"That's what I get paid to do, kick goals and put pressure on," Ginnivan said.

"I just go through my routine and lock them in."

Ginnivan said the support of coach Craig McRae, assistant Hayden Skipworth and club psychologist Jacqui Louder, as well as his family and friends, had been crucial to his development.

McRae said he was instantly impressed by Ginnivan when he arrived as Collingwood's new coach late last year.

"He's had a great start to the year and we missed him dearly in the last game (when he had a calf injury)," McRae said.

"We want him to be himself, you hear him being himself, we want him to be authentic and we want him to know we've got his back."

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