Collingwood coach Craig McRae says he will seek clarification from the AFL over Jack Ginnivan’s appearance after it was suggested the goalsneak was denied free kicks due to controversy surrounding the 19-year-old’s playing style.
Ginnivan was awarded two controversial free kicks in the first quarter – one for being held and another for a push in the back – with the Pies eventually scoring four points. win over Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday†
On some occasions in the second half, Ginnivan appeared to have been taken high by an opponent, but he was not awarded free kicks, raising the question of whether Ginnivan’s reputation had worked against him rather than in his favor.
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After the match, McRae took issue with the idea that Ginnivan is exaggerating contact to take free kicks.
“Playing for free kicks is an interesting way of putting it. I think players are really good at dodging tackles and learning how to dodge tackles and make it hard to get tackles,” he said.
“We tell our players to spend time over the ball, which means you’ll probably get some front-on contact, but we want to keep the ball in front of us.
“We practice being tackled versus being tackled. I think it’s a skill. It forces the tackler to really play his best game.
“Is it within the rules? There’s no rule against it at the moment.”
When asked if Ginnivan’s style of play could have been a factor in some free kicks not being awarded in the second half, McRae said it would be wrong if they were.
“Maybe I need to get some clarity because as far as I know that (high contact) is a free kick, so we’ll just get some clarity on that,” he said.
“But if I think you can’t get a free kick because we don’t like you getting free kicks, I’m not sure if that is the case. I’ll get some clarity on that.”
Immediately asked if he would seek clarification from the AFL, McRae replied, “I think so.”
“Especially if you get a ground ball and then take the tackle. Dusty does it with one arm, Joel Selwood has earned his living with it, I think it played smart.”
Ginnivan has scored 21 goals from 10 appearances this season and came into the limelight with a five-goal appearance against Essendon on ANZAC Day, winning the medal for best outfield player.
Speaking to foxfooty.com.au after the game, teammate and gun recruit Patrick Lipinski believed that Ginnivan has stepped into the opponents’ skins with great success.
“He’s a very handy footballer. He converts his goals when he gets opportunities. The opponent hates him, they always do things to him, which is a bit disappointing, but we have to stand up for him,” said Lipinski after 29 divestments and a goal against Hawthorn.
“He’s been great this season and he’s only 19, to have scored 20 goals from 10 games is also great. He’s been great and we just have to keep supporting him to move forward.”
When asked if players seemed to target Ginnivan more than other players, Lipinski replied: “It seems so, but that’s okay, he gets some free kicks out of them and he scores the goals.”
“They just don’t like him because in the end he’s a good player. We love him in our team.”
After McRae’s press conference, Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell was amused when he was informed of McRae’s desire to get clarity from the week and was asked if he was comfortable with his players’ tackling technique.
“It’s a difficult question to answer. Smart little attackers, a lot of them in their kit bag is the ability to take a free kick,” he said.
“Paul Puopolo was a man I played with for a long time and who was a master at it. It’s a real art and if you want to be a little attacker it’s really handy to have that in your kit bag.
Ginnivan has a really good ability to really take free kicks and our players were very aware of that and I thought they handled those situations very well.”
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