Mick Malthouse has taken exception to Craig McRae celebrating the fact that Jack Ginnivan won a free kick for a high tackle. Ginnivan booted three goals and produced his best performance all year as Collingwood thrashed Essendon by 70 points on Friday night.
Ginnivan has made the most of his opportunity back in the AFL, which came about due to injuries to Nick Daicos and captain Darcy Moore. The 20-year-old was dumped to the VFL earlier this season and has struggled to recapture the form that saw him kick 40 goals last year.
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Ginnivan's return to form has sparked a tricky selection headache for coach Craig McRae ahead of the finals. His performance on Friday night was so good that he even won a free kick when he was collected high by Mason Redman.
It was a rare win for Ginnivan, who has frequently been criticised for 'ducking' into high tackles throughout his young career. The fact he finally won a free on Friday night wasn't lost on McRae, who could be seen throwing his arms in the air in triumph on the boundary line. The coach also threw up a No.1 with his finger to suggest it was the first high tackle free Ginnivan had ever won.
— 7AFL (@7AFL) August 25, 2023
“That has to be paid. Ginnivan rarely gets a (free) kick these days, but if that’s not high, nothing is,” Brian Taylor said on Channel 7. But the cheeky moment didn't go down well with legendary former Collingwood coach Malthouse, who was rubbed the wrong way by McRae's actions.
“I’m not sure about the coach on the bench doing that,” Malthouse said in commentary for ABC Sport. “You’re just baiting your player up. Let the players play with their emotions, but that there to me all it does is signify that you think he doesn’t get enough frees.”
But Magpies champion Mick McGuane shot back at Malthouse’s comments, writing on social media: “Oh please Mick … a coach supporting his player, nothing better than that. Something that you stood for.”
Mick is not a fan of most things to be fair.
— Vossy (@Vossy017) August 25, 2023
Jack Ginnivan sparks selection headache for Collingwood
Speaking about Ginnivan's return to form after the game, McRae said: "I strongly believe it came down to his training standards. There was a real shift.
"At VFL, he wasn't playing above the level, but then he got busy with his training. For a month there he was our best trainer."
Former Collingwood player and coach Nathan Buckley said Ginnivan had shown he is ready to play a big part in the Pies' finals charge. “He showed his class, his finish and his energy … His last couple of weeks have said ‘I’m ready to go in September’," Buckley said on Fox Footy.
Garry Lyon added: “He got a stack of the footy, he was busy. He is part of this selection question. He secured himself a first final on the back of that performance.”
Ginnivan is likely to hold his place for Collingwood's home qualifying final in two weeks' time, despite the fact Moore and a number of other players will be available. McRae wasn't prepared to rule out Daicos just yet, but the young gun will likely be kept on ice until later in the finals.
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