Jack Ginnivan explains rollercoaster exit from Collingwood Magpies, move to Hawthorn

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Hawthorn forward Jack Ginnivan needed just three words to encapsulate his Collingwood tenure: “a f***ing rollercoaster”.

The 2023 Magpies premiership player discussed his time at Olympic Park and previewed his upcoming clash with his old side — lamenting the Gather Round setting in which it is set to take place.

Ginnivan’s candid commentary came via a Tommy Talks podcast episode that was released just prior to the Hawks’ Easter Monday battle with Geelong.

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In the 36-point defeat to the Cats, the 21-year-old managed a goal from 11 disposals, but it was the lack of free-kick leniency afforded to him by the umpires that drew the loudest reactions.

AFL executive general manager of football Laura Kane on Tuesday afternoon admitted fault on behalf of the league regarding the officiating of Ginnivan on Monday.

“We’ve assessed all tackles or contests that involved Jack Ginnivan,” she told AFL Media. “It is fair to say that a couple of those weren’t officiated correctly and we missed a few.”

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This Sunday at Adelaide Oval, the livewire forward will come up against his old side.

While Ginnivan claims he doesn’t get nervous, the prospect of a matchup with his former flag-winning teammates might have him feeling butterflies.

“Yeah, maybe (I will be nervous),” Ginnivan chuckled, speaking to Tommy Talks.

“I was with Isaac (Quaynor) last night — he’ll probably come and play on me … It’s going to be a really good, fun time playing against them.

“I’ve obviously made so many mates there and friendships for life, as they always say, when you win a flag together. So, yeah, I’ll definitely be pumped for that.”

However, he wasn’t a fan of the AFL’s decision to schedule the much-anticipated clash in Adelaide during Gather Round.

“They probably should’ve put it at the ‘G in front of (a crowd of) 90,000 but they chose Gather Round for some reason — on a Sunday at (5:10pm AEDT),” Ginnivan lamented.

“It’ll be good, but it would’ve been better at the ‘G. Maybe in a final.”

Asked by host Tommy Sheridan to sum up his time in black and white, ‘Ginni’ had a short but telling initial response before going into more detail.

“Yeah, three years at the Pies … In a few words, (it was) a f***ing rollercoaster,” laughed Ginnivan.

“But, like, (it was) an amazing journey. Covid, (my) first game (had) no crowd and then only playing five games, kicking a few goals, really finding my feet late and then the season ends.

“Big pre-season (the next year), really go hard on myself, and then in Round 1 (there was) the Go-Pro stuff, kicked a few goals then I dyed my hair. Then (I won the) ANZAC Day Medal and (I was in) every news article, every single day for probably 10 weeks.”

After bursting onto the scene and playing 23 senior games in 2022, Ginnivan managed just 14 in ‘23 — including five as the substitute.

“From that 2022 season where we lost the prelim, I was so mentally drained and I probably got carried away in the off-season,” he said.

“I didn’t really train as much as I should’ve and got better like people were around me. You can’t stop in the AFL, you’ve got to keep going because so many people around you are getting better, and if you’re not getting better people are going to catch up to you quickly.”

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Ginnivan explained the well-documented evening he spent at Moonee Valley before the 2023 Grand Final, saying he didn’t think it should’ve been made into a big deal.

“I didn’t have a horse running. I was probably just thinking about the Grand Final a lot during the week,” Ginnivan said.

“Me and my mate went there at 6:30pm and got home at 9:30pm. Like, it wasn’t really that big of a deal … There was nothing really to it, I just wanted to get my mind off (playing in the Grand Final) and I was home asleep at 9:30pm in bed, feeling cherry the next day.

“And, of course, the media just carries on about it. But for me, that didn’t really matter — the preparation was going to be the same if I was home or if I was there. I was going to be sitting on the couch, slumped.

“It was probably better to go out and just talk to people and I didn’t think about footy once. So, looking back, I don’t think it was a mistake from my (point of view), but probably just how people perceived it. It didn’t look great, which would be the only thing I would change.”

Ginnivan said no fuss was made about the evening in question at Collingwood until coach Craig McRae’s “read the room” quip post-game and a telling exit meeting that the now-Hawk didn’t share too much about.

“Nothing really came of it until Fly’s press conference and my exit meeting, and that was sort of when I knew that I probably should leave,” Ginnivan said.

“I had the exit meeting with ‘Fly’ and a few things in there were a bit … So that was a bit eye-opening, that exit meeting.”

On October 18 last year, Collingwood and Hawthorn agreed to an exchange involving Jack Ginnivan and a host of later draft picks, with the former Bendigo Pioneer subsequently signing a four-year deal at Waverley.

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Speaking to SEN on Tuesday, McRae addressed Ginnivan’s comments about the exit meeting.

“I can’t comment on what he said because I haven’t heard it, but he did have a contract, remember. He had a contract,” McRae told The Run Home with Andy & Gazey.

“It was up to him to decide to go and have conversations (with another club). We never opened the door for him to have a conversation with another footy club. That was up to him.

“I openly say that we had an exit interview and I expressed things that I wasn’t happy with. Yeah, I wasn’t. But it wasn’t ‘see you later, Jack’. He was a valued player and a premiership player.

“We shook hands and he decided to go, and we said ‘yes, OK, on your way’ — without saying it that directly. We wish him well and we wish him all the best, just not this week when (he plays) us.

“But he’s always going to be a premiership player at Collingwood, and when we had that final conversation on the phone, there was still love and support and (I) want the best for him.”

The Magpies and Hawks will face off at Adelaide Oval this Sunday from 5:10pm AEDT — exclusive to Fox Footy (via Channel 504) and Kayo.

Originally published as Hawks recruit explains ‘f***ing rollercoaster’ exit from Collingwood