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Collingwood Magpies defeat Hawthorn Hawks, Craig McRae speaks on Jack Ginnivan free kicks claims

Collingwood will seek clarification from the AFL over the officiating of young gun Jack Ginnivan following suggestions the small forward was denied free kicks for high contact during the second half of Sunday’s four-point win over Hawthorn.

Ginnivan was paid two touchy free kicks in the opening quarter, one for being held and another for a push in the back, with the latter controversially awarded by a non-officiating umpire positioned away from the ball.

But a shift in the second half saw the umpires call “play on” on three occasions where Ginnivan appeared to be taken high by an opponent.

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After the match, Pies coach Craig McRae was asked if Ginnivan’s agitating style of play could have influenced the umpires’ decisions.

“Maybe I need to get some clarity because as far as I’m aware that’s (high contact) a free kick, so we’ll just get some clarity around that,” he said.

“But thinking you can’t get paid a free kick because we don’t like it that you’re getting free kicks, I’m not sure that’s the case. I’ll just get some clarity around that.”

McRae also took issue with the idea that Ginnivan exaggerates contact to draw free kicks.

“Playing for free kicks is an interesting way of putting it,” he said.

“I think players are really good at avoiding tackles and learning how to evade tackles and make it hard to be tackled.

Moore free kick splits opinions

“We tell our players to spend time over the ball, which means you’re likely going to get some front-on contact but we want to keep the ball in front of us.

“Being tackled versus getting tackled, we practice that. I think it’s a skill.

He said it forced the tackler to be “on his best game”.

“Is it within the rules? There’s no rule against it at the minute,” the coach said.

“Particularly when you’re getting a ground ball and then taking on the tackle. Dusty does it with an arm, Joel Selwood has made a living out of it, I think it’s smart play.”

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell was amused by McRae’s comments.

“Clever small forwards, a lot of them in their kitbag is the ability to draw a free kick,” he said.

“Paul Puopolo was a guy I played with for a long time that was a master of it. There’s a real art to it and if you’re going to be a small forward, having that in your kitbag is really helpful.

“Ginnivan’s got a really good ability to genuinely draw a free kick and our players were very aware of that going into the game and I thought they handled those situations really well.”

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