‘Stop talking rubbish’: Magpies boss defends the Ginnivan trade

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Collingwood chief executive Craig Kelly expects traded premiership player Jack Ginnivan to want to “beat us up” next season, but insists Ginnivan’s night out at the races on the eve of the grand final did not contribute to his demise.

Ginnivan will soon begin pre-season training with Hawthorn, having been traded to the Hawks in a shock move last month after the Magpies signed wantaway Docker Lachie Schultz.

The colourful small forward had a turbulent final year at Collingwood, including being banned for illicit drug use over summer, and then attending the Moonee Valley races the night before the grand final.

Those were the days: Jack Ginnivan will always be a Collingwood premiership player.Credit: AFL Photos

Magpies coach Craig McRae delivered a stinging shot at Ginnivan after the Magpies edged Brisbane to claim their 16th premiership, declaring Ginnivan should have “read the room”. Despite this, Kelly said on Wednesday that Ginnivan’s night out had not been the reason why the Magpies opted to let him go.

“That stuff doesn’t come into it, I promise you. Everyone tries to make something … you might have seen another email I sent around, everyone needs to stop talking rubbish – they don’t know what they are talking about,” Kelly said.

“It’s dangerous, and it spreads, and it’s not right. It’s incorrect.”

Ginnivan’s first clash against his former club will be one of the more intriguing storylines of the 2024 home-and-away season.

Kelly, the former powerful player agent, said the Magpies, led by football department boss Graham Wright, had handled the trade well.

“Having been a manager on the other side … what we have tried to do here is be open and transparent, not only to our supporters, but our players, and all of our people who work in the club,” Kelly said.

“The reality is, when Lachie Schultz came, when we saw that opportunity, Wrighty and the guys had those other conversations. I think Jack is loved by all of us, and loved by a lot of supporters, but the reality is he has got a four-year contract with the club (Hawthorn). He will go there and try and beat us up when he plays against us.

“He is a ripping guy, he is a lovely guy we had around the club, but there is a bigger opportunity for him, and he has got a secure contract for four years. It’s worked for him, and we have got Lachie Schultz coming into our program, and he is elite.”

The Magpies made another tough list-management call, axing Kelly’s son, Will, after five seasons on the list. The father-son recruit managed five games for the Magpies, but is likely to attract interest from rival clubs seeking key defensive depth.

“As hard as it was for me to not have Will in our program, it’s the right decision for the program, because the people running the program made that decision, in ‘Fly’ and Wrighty. I have got so much respect for those two guys because they handled it so well with me and also with Will,” Kelly said.

Second chance: Craig Kelly and his Magpies of 1990 were unable to deliver back-to-back flags; the team he oversees as club CEO now has that chance.Credit: Getty Images

“I hope Will goes somewhere and has a great opportunity because I think he has plenty of upside, and he has got a desire, and often, sometimes, you have got to be sat back a bit and given a push and something has to happen in life to want you to go again. Maybe that has happened to him now … I also think, maybe, it’s not a bad thing that he is not around this club because there is a lot of stuff I have done, and others have done. Maybe it’s good for a fresh start for him.”

The Magpies unveiled their premiership cup tour across Australia, giving supporters the chance to continue to share in the September joy.

Senior players will not officially begin pre-season training until the first week of December, but Kelly insists the club will soon fully move on from celebrations, understanding there is much work to do ahead of a tilt for back-to-back premierships, a feat Kelly’s own 1990 premiership side failed to accomplish, and the Magpies have not done for almost 90 years.

Aside from list changes, and the addition of soon-to-be draftees, there has already been change in the coaching and fitness setups, while the Magpies’ indoor training centre will soon have artificial grass replacing the netball court. There will be further upgrades, ensuring, as Kelly put it, there is ongoing professional growth.

“I think there will be, very clearly, a time when we stop the [celebration] conversation. I know the guys, when they come back, will come back to a whole new club – a whole new look and feel,” he said.

“We are working hard to change the images, and also we are doing a lot of work in the centre of the AIA Centre where artificial grass, for example, will now be in the middle of the sprung floor.

“You have got to move on and if you don’t, you don’t do that quickly – we are four or six weeks behind every other team in the competition for a very good reason, and a fun reason, but now we have got to get going.”

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