Jack Ginnivan has developed a reputation for drawing head high contact, with footy pundits accusing the teenager of milking free kicks.
Collingwood coach Craig McRae has vowed to seek clarification from the AFL after the umpires neglected to blow their whistle when Magpies small forward Jack Ginnivan was caught high during Sunday’s contest at the MCG.
In the second half of Collingwood’s thrilling four-point victory over Hawthorn, Ginnivan was seemingly taken high by Hawks defender Changkuoth Jiath but not awarded a free kick.
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There were at least two other instances where the umpires called “play on” after the Magpies young gun appeared to get tackled high.
The 19-year-old has quickly developed a reputation for drawing head high contact, with footy pundits accusing the Pies teenager of exaggerating collisions to draw free kicks.
“Is this the reputation that he wants to have going forward as an AFL player?” former St Kilda defender Leigh Montagna told Fox Footy’s First Crack.
“Does he want this to be his brand? Does he want to be identified as a player that ducks and dives for free kicks?
“As soon as he gets the ball, he’s trying to get a free kick. He’s either falling forward, lifting the arm, playing for it.
“I don’t think that it’s in the spirit of the game.
“He’s not getting rewarded for free kicks that he should get because of his reputation already in his career.”
Speaking to reporters in the post-match press conference, McRae took umbrage at suggestions Ginnivan’s style of play contributed to free kicks not being awarded.
“Playing for free kicks is an interesting way of putting it. I think players are really good at avoiding tackles and learning how to evade tackles and make it hard to be tackled,” he said.
“We tell our players to spend time over the ball, which means you’re likely going to get some front-on contact, but we want to keep the ball in front of us.
“Being tackled versus getting tackled, we practice that. I think it’s a skill. It forces the tackler to really be on his best game.
“Is it within the rules? There’s no rule against it at the minute.
“Maybe I need to get some clarity because as far as I’m aware that’s a free kick, so we’ll just get some clarity around that.
“But thinking you can’t get paid a free kick because we don’t like it that you’re getting free kicks, I’m not sure that’s the case. I’ll just get some clarity around that.”
Meanwhile, Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell told reporters he had no issue with the tackling technique of his players.
“Clever small forwards, a lot of them in their kitbag is the ability to draw a free kick,” he said.
“Paul Puopolo was a guy I played with for a long time that was a master of it. There’s a real art to it and if you’re going to be a small forward, having that in your kitbag is really helpful.
“Ginnivan’s got a really good ability to genuinely draw a free kick and our players were very aware of that going into the game and I thought they handled those situations really well.”
Collingwood ultimately claimed a 10.12 (72) to 10.8 (68) victory on Sunday, continuing their impressive rise under first-year coach Craig McRae.
The Magpies will next face reigning champions Melbourne at the MCG on Monday, June 13, with the first bounce scheduled for 3.20pm AEST.