Collingwood Magpies, Jack Ginnivan, Eddie McGuire, free kicks, high contact, rules, interpretation, Footy Classified

Eddie McGuire launched an impassioned defense of controversial Collingwood youngster Jack Ginnivan amid outrage surrounding his perceived free-kick showmanship.

The former Collingwood chairman said the referees’ treatment of Ginnivan on Saturday had “really upset” him, before warning that the AFL’s change to the interpretation of high contacts would lead to an “opening of minefield” or a player with a serious head injury.

The AFL on Tuesday revealed a change in high-contact interpretation due to questionable actions by Ginnivan and other players.

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“When the tackle is reasonably applied, and there is a prior opportunity, and the ball carrier is responsible for high contact via a shrug, drop or arm lift – holding the ball should be called “, the AFL said in a statement.

McGuire spoke fervently on Nine’s Footy Ranked Wednesday night.

“Forget I’m a Collingwood man. OK?” McGuire said.

“I watched Saturday’s game between Collingwood and Adelaide, and I was really upset. I was worried, I was really, really worried.

“I watched every game over the weekend and I watched different football games on three different grounds… you can’t tell me the referees weren’t absolutely concerned about Jack Ginnivan.

“I haven’t heard anything from the AFL that it was officiated in a particular way, different from anyone else.

“I think the red herring is what came out this week.”

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McGuire then turned his attention to the danger the change in interpretation could pose to the ball carrier.

“I’m really worried that you now have free rein to come in and belt a guy out if you think he’s got his knees down,” McGuire said.

“Do you put your head down, (where you) could protect yourself like a boxer, tuck your head under your shoulder, lower your body to get the ball, prepare for a bump?

“I think we’re going to see guys say, ‘Okay, it’s here’. With a punch.

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“A rule that’s supposed to stop concussions will, in my mind, enact concussions, or at least (cause) people to throw dangerous head-high tackles.

“You’re going to go to court and have the biomechanics say, ‘He dropped his knee, he did this’.”

Horns baffled by ref’s calls to Ginnivan

McGuire wants the AFL to stick to an age-old rule of the game.

“I just think there’s an old-fashioned rule in this game – if you hit someone in the head, it’s a free kick… I wish we went back to when they came into the game. the under-11s and the referee said, “If you go to the ball, the ball will protect you and I will protect you as the referee,” McGuire said.

“Now we’re going to have all these different ways (to interpret). ‘Did he drop his knees? Did he do that?’.

“Damn, I’ll tell you what: there’s a minefield opening up here.

“If somebody gets their head smashed next week, gets their jaw smashed, see what happens.”

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