AFL news 2022: Jack Ginnivan mental health, Craig McRae, Collingwood, reaction, video

Collingwood coach Craig McRae has launched a passionate plea for his young star Jack Ginnivan following his admission of mental health struggles on Saturday.

The livewire small forward has been under the media microscope all season long thanks to his free-kick drawing abilities and opened up on the impact following the club’s win against Port Adelaide.

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After playing a key role on Saturday, Ginnivan admitted the constant media scrutiny has taken a toll on him.

“It’s definitely taken a toll on my mental health and all that stuff, but I’m here, happy, smiling, when you’re kicking goals and winning it’s beautiful, so (I) can’t complain,” he said.

“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, up here every week. ‘Fly’ (Craig McRae), he’s a beautiful human, I love him to bits and he’s looking after my day by day.”

McRae said the constant scrutiny around the 19-year-old has gone above and beyond and perhaps the brakes should be pumped.

“We’re conscious of this. We see him and we try to protect him. We get to a point where we say, ‘Maybe enough is enough; let’s look after this kid’,” McRae said.

“He’s creating all these stories and, again, we’ve got to look at what we can control around that. He’s a 19-year-old kid and he’s saying his mental health’s been strained. Let’s look after him, hey?”

Footy fans were quick to praise the youngster for his raw honesty during his post-game interview.

Channel 10’s Stephen Quartermain wrote: “Jack Ginnivan is a bloody beauty.”

The Age’s Sam McClure wrote: “That was an outstanding interview by Sarah Jones with Jack Ginnivan on Fox.”

The Age’s Peter Ryan wrote: “Ginnivan spoke well post game to @FOXFOOTY Forget the frees debate, he played a much improved style of football today after appearing to doubt himself last fortnight, front & centre, looked to use ball as first option.”

From the early weeks of the 2022 season, Ginnivan has divided footy fans and media experts for his tactics to lure free kicks by dropping his height and ensuring opponents’ arms end up around his neck.

The tactic forced the AFL’s hand who tightened the guidelines around the rule and saw fans blow up the following week when Ginnivan had his head almost ripped off his shoulders by Essendon’s Mason Redman.

Days later the league admitted they got the call wrong and the 19-year-old should have been rewarded.

Ginnivan was once again in the thick of it in the first half against the Power when he was tackled by Robbie Gray.

After collecting the footy, Ginnivan looked to have dipped at the knees and lowered his left shoulder as Gray’s tackle went up and around his neck.

The umpire didn’t bite and instead pinged Ginnivan for holding the ball.

“Every time he’s tackled there’s a question among football fans,” Fox Footy commentator Mark Howard said.

Former St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt backed the ruling by the umpire, saying it was the correct call this time.

“We‘ve lost our minds over the last couple of weeks and this young man has been at the centre of it,” Riewoldt said on at halftime.

“You’ve got to love the fact he comes out here on the biggest stage and with all the noise, all the talk, despite the fact he’s only a 19-year-old kid, he comes out this quarter and he absolutely lights it up.

“It’s just awesome to watch. I don’t think we’ve spoken about a 22-gamer as much as we have this guy and what has maybe gotten a lost a little bit in all of it is just how well he’s been playing.”

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