The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one.
It’s time the AFL recognised they have a serious problem on their hands.
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Jack Ginnivan has caused major uproar in 2022 all from his free-kick drawing abilities as he lures opponents into tackling him high.
The divisive star has had fans up in arms all season long, with opinions divided over the tactic which sees him drop at the knees and lift one arm up to ensure the tacklers arm slides around his neck.
It quickly became a major talking point with the AFL prior to round 19 putting teams and players on notice, issuing a warning that any player who ducks, drops or shrugs into a tackle to draw high contact will not receive a free kick and will instead be told to play on.
While not explicitly stating the hard line stance on the “exploitation” of the rule was due to Ginnivan, it was hard to see it had not been brought in because of the Pies star.
On Sunday afternoon the Pies forward was at the centre of the worst umpiring call you’re likely to see.
Ginnivan, streaking inside forward 50, was taken around the neck by Essendon’s Mason Redman but the umpire refused to blow the whistle … instead calling play on.
“I think his reputation cost him there, Jack Ginnivan,” commentator Alastair Nicholson said on Seven.
“Is that a significant enough dropping of the knees not to warrant a free kick?”
Melbourne champion Nathan Jones felt it wasn’t, arguing: “I think it was a poor attempt at a tackle. He’s gone high and taken his head off. That’s as clear as day, really.”
Geelong premiership captain Cameron Ling added: “He’s not fair game. Just because you’re going into the mindset of ‘Ginnivan has done this before’, doesn’t mean that Essendon players can go for their life. That’s a free kick every day.”
Ginnivan is far from the first player to exploit the rule and draw free kicks by dropping at the knees.
Joel Selwood mastered it and drew countless free kicks from high tackles, former North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas adopted the tactic and cashed in numerous times.
The ugly moment on Sunday left fans seething and had many calling out the league for putting Ginnivan in an unsafe environment.
Former Richmond legend Matthew Richardson wrote: “Outrageous high contact non decision on Ginnivan.”
Basil Zoccali wrote: “Even as an Essendon supporter, that was high on Jack Ginnivan. The kid almost lost his head!”
Journalist Mark Gottlieb wrote: “At no stage is this tackle EVER going to be a legal one. Blaming players getting hit in the head is a terrible path for the #AFL to be going down with what we know about brain injuries. Ginnivan lowered his running height but that shouldn’t make it open season on his head.”
Channel 10’s Stephen Quartermain wrote: “Jack Ginnivan @CollingwoodFC actually has to have his head torn from his shoulder blades to get a free kick.”
Originally published as Fans blow up after Jack Ginnivan not rewarded despite having ‘his head taken off’
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