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Pies coach McRae backs young star Ginnivan

3 minute read

Collingwood forward Jack Ginnivan has drawn praise from his coach over a revealing interview in which he revealed the toll the AFL spotlight is taking on him.

JACK GINNIVAN. Picture: Dylan Burns/via Getty Images

Collingwood coach Craig McRae has praised young star Jack Ginnivan for his courage in speaking out about his struggles in the AFL spotlight.

Ginnivan has been under intense media and public scrutiny this year at the centre of the storm around players trying to draw free kicks for high contact.

The 19-year-old kicked three goals in the Magpies' win over Port Adelaide last week but was again in the spotlight when he was caught high by Robbie Gray.

Ginnivan was ruled to have contributed to the high contact and therefore penalised for holding the ball.

After the match, Ginnivan revealed the unusually high level of criticism levelled at him had affected him during his breakout second season with Collingwood.

"It's definitely taken a toll on my mental health and all that stuff, but I'm here, happy, smiling," Ginnivan told Fox Footy.

"When you're kicking goals and winning it's beautiful, so I can't complain."

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury this week claimed umpires are operating with a different set of rules for Ginnivan, while McRae has been at pains to shield his player from criticism.

The first-year coach again threw his support behind Ginnivan when asked on Thursday about the young forward's raw post-match interview.

"It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of the footy world and the community and say what he did, and we want to protect the young lad," McRae told reporters.

"He's just one of many, staff included, and we want to make sure that our players and staff feel safe in our environment."

Ginnivan has kicked 32 goals from 17 games this season, playing a key role in Collingwood's surge into the top four.

The Magpies take on reigning premiers Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night.

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