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Collingwood coach Craig McRae sought explanation from the AFL over the controversial decision not to award Jack Ginnivan a high-contact free kick on Sunday.
Collingwood coach Craig McRae will do what he can to protect Jack Ginnivan as the young dynamo sits at the centre of an ongoing AFL umpiring storm.
Already the unwitting face of the league's crackdown on players drawing free kicks for high contact, Ginnivan was denied a whistle that should have gone against Essendon's Mason Redman on Sunday.
The non-call has drawn fierce criticism from prominent figures, including AFL legend Leigh Matthews, who declared he felt sick about umpires' treatment of Ginnivan.
The 19-year-old has since added fuel to the fire, briefly changing his Instagram profile picture to one of Redman appearing to have him in a head-lock.
"It's a hard game to play (and) he's getting a lot of attention because he's been a good player for us," McRae told reporters on Wednesday.
"It's part and parcel of a young guy trying to find his way in his career.
"The opposition want to take something away from us - if they see a chink in your armour, they'll go at it - and we do the same against opposition.
"We're trying to work our way through that with Jack."
Led by furious president Jeff Browne, Collingwood demanded an explanation from the AFL over the non-call against Redman.
McRae, who said post-match he felt it a free kick should have been paid, spoke directly to league football operations boss Brad Scott.
"He said it was a free kick and we move on," McRae said.
McRae backed Collingwood forward Mason Cox, who took aim at the AFL via social media this week, claiming the league "blatantly ignored" Redman's high tackle on Ginnivan amid growing concern around concussion and head-high contact in the game.
"I love how we support our players," McRae said.
"We want to care for our players, and I want to do the same.
"We've got to love and protect our players."
Four-time premiership coach and playing great Matthews told 3AW the game's reputation is being tarnished by regular rule changes and said he "couldn't sleep" after the Sunday's controversial decision.
"I respect Leigh's opinion, I always will," McRae said.
"But in terms of Jack's situation ... some of them get paid, some aren't going to get paid.
"Jack's got a bit of a spotlight on this incident, if you like, and it's a work in progress."