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The intense AFL spotlight has taken a toll on Collingwood youngster Jack Ginnivan, who continues to impress while at the centre of umpiring controversies.
Collingwood dynamo Jack Ginnivan has revealed the intense spotlight on his game has taken a toll on his mental health after more controversy in the AFL win over Port Adelaide.
Ginnivan was involved in another contentious umpiring decision on Saturday when he was caught high by Power star Robbie Gray and was penalised for holding the ball.
The 19-year-old appeared to drop his body into the tackle, prompting Fox Footy commentator Nick Riewoldt to declare the umpire's call was correct.
The latest incident follows the league's crackdown on players drawing free kicks by contributing to high contact.
Ginnivan, who has a knack of drawing free kicks, has been at the centre of media and public debate around the tactic all season.
"It's definitely taken a toll on my mental health and all that stuff, but I'm here, happy, smiling," Ginnivan said in a raw post-match interview with Fox Footy.
"When you're kicking goals and winning it's beautiful, so can't complain.
"I've got some strong leaders around me, Darcy Moore, Callum Brown is one of my best mates, he's looking after me.
"My mum, my family are so amazing, they're up here every week, so I can't complain.
"Fly (coach Craig McRae), he's a beautiful human, I love him to bits and he's looking after me day by day."
The AFL last week conceded Ginnivan should have been awarded a free kick for a high tackle from Essendon's Mason Redman, which was not paid.
Prominent figures weighed in on the debate with AFL legend Leigh Matthews among the most vocal, declaring AFL umpires' treatment of Ginnivan was making him feel "sick".
The Gray incident has ensured the debate will continue for another week, but Magpies coach McRae has had enough.
"We're conscious of this, we see it and we try to protect him," McRae said post-match.
"We get to a point where we say, 'Maybe enough is enough, let's look after this kid'.
"There's been all these stories, and again, we need to look at what we can control around that.
"He's a 19-year-old kid and he's saying his mental health has been strained. Let's look after him."
Ginnivan kicked three crucial goals in the six-point win over Port Adelaide, which kept Collingwood in the top four.
He has kicked 32 goals from 17 games in a breakout second season with the Magpies.