Jack Ginnivan impacted by spotlight but smiling after Collingwood Magpies victory

Collingwood president Jeff Browne had also sought clarification from the AFL amid claims Ginnivan had been targeted for his technique of dropping low in tackles.

There were a few contentious calls from umpires, including a high tackle on Ginnivan by Robbie Gray which wasn’t paid, but McRae said it was a good lesson in getting on with the game no matter what, as the Pies became the first team to win nine games by 12 points or fewer in a VFL/AFL season.

“I thought there were a couple of opportunities where free kicks were not paid potentially, and we just got on with it. You know, you have to. What if it’s a grand final? Just get on with it,” he said.

“And Jack got on with it today and Ash Johnson got on with it, and you know, late in the game there might have been a free kick paid not against us, or not for us, and you just got on with it. I think it’s a good lesson for us.”

Brodie Grundy made a successful return in the VFL on Saturday. McRae was hopeful he would return next week and admitted he’d “be surprised” if Mason Cox, Darcy Cameron and Grundy all made the team.

Taylor Adams was subbed off with a groin injury and Jeremy Howe finished on the bench after getting a knee to the backside and seeming to hurt his hip.

“He took a big step forward today,” said McRae on Grundy. “We thought he needed the run and he played up until the last quarter in the VFL and by all reports was getting better as the game went on.

“I watched two quarters of that game, I was happy with what I saw, he got a little scuffle, you know, got the bumps and bruises you need to, which you can’t get at training.

“We’re trying to set him up, whether that’s in six days time, we’ll see how he pulls up, but we’re pretty pleased he got through today.”

Grundy, 28, had 21 hitouts, 11 disposals and eight tackles. Seven of Grundy’s tackles came in the first half and he was also caught up in two scuffles, wrestling with Southport’s Brayden Crossley, which could see him face a fine from the VFL tribunal.

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Collingwood have a tough AFL run home to September, facing Melbourne, Sydney and Carlton in coming weeks, which while McRae says will be a good test for finals.

“I don’t want to look too far ahead, we haven’t done that all year, we live in the moment now and we look at what we did well and what we can improve,” said McRae.

“Every game presents as an opportunity to get yourself ready for finals, but those teams in particular [are] in the eight as it stands so going to be a great opportunity to see where we sit.”

With Roy Ward

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