Collingwood coach Craig McRae has made a passionate plea for his young star Jack Ginnivan after his confession of mental health problems on Saturday.
The Livewire little forward has been under the media microscope all season thanks to his free-kick-signing abilities, making his appearance following the club’s win against Port Adelaide.
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After playing a key role on Saturday, Ginnivan admitted that the constant scrutiny of the media has taken its toll.
“It’s definitely taken its toll on my mental health and all that stuff, but I’m here, happy, smiling, when you score goals and win it’s beautiful, so (I) can’t complain,” he said.
“I have some strong leaders around me, Darcy Moore, Callum Brown is one of my best friends, he takes care of me.
“My mother, my family is so wonderful, here every week. Fly (Craig McRae), he’s a beautiful person, I love him dearly and he takes care of me every day.”
McRae said the constant checking around the 19-year-old goes beyond and maybe the brakes need pumping.
“We are aware of this. We see him and we try to protect him. We get to a point where we say, ‘Maybe enough is enough; let’s take care of this kid,” McRae said.
“He creates all these stories and again, we have to look at what we can control around that. He is a 19-year-old boy and he says his mental health is under pressure. Let’s take care of him, huh?’
Footy fans were quick to praise the youngster for his raw honesty during his post-match interview.
Channel 10’s Stephen Quartermain wrote: “Jack Ginnivan is a bloody beauty.”
The Age’s Sam McClure wrote, “That was an excellent interview by Sarah Jones with Jack Ginnivan on Fox.”
Peter Ryan of The Age wrote: “Ginnivan had a great chat with @FOXFOOTY after the game. Forget the debate about the liberties, he played a much improved style of football today after he seemed to doubt himself, front & center, and seemed to use the ball as the first option.”
From the early weeks of the 2022 season, Ginnivan has divided football fans and media pundits over his tactics of enticing free kicks by lowering his height and causing the opponent’s arms to end around his neck.
The tactic forced the hand of the AFL tightening guidelines around the rule and saw fans blow up the following week when Ginnivan nearly had his head ripped off his shoulders by Essendon’s Mason Redman.
Days later, the league admitted they had made the wrong decision and the 19-year-old should have been rewarded.
Ginnivan was once again in the middle of the first half against the Power when he was tackled by Robbie Gray.
After collecting the footy, Ginnivan appeared to have fallen to his knees and dropped his left shoulder as Gray’s tackle went up and around his neck.
The umpire didn’t bite and instead pinged Ginnivan for holding the ball.
“Every time he’s tackled, there’s a question among football fans,” said Fox Footy commentator Mark Howard.
Former St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt supported the umpire’s ruling, saying it was the right decision this time around.
“We’ve gone crazy over the past few weeks and this young man was at the center of it,” Riewoldt said at halftime.
“You have to love that he gets on the biggest stage here and with all the noise, all the talking, despite the fact that he’s only a 19-year-old boy, he’s coming out this quarter and he’s definitely lighting it up.
“It’s just great to see. I don’t think we’ve talked as much about a 22 gamer as we have about this guy and what might have been a bit lost is how well he plays.”
Originally published when Jack Ginnivan makes raw mental health clearance after constant media scrutiny