Jack Ginnivan looks on during Collingwood training at the AIA Centre on September 26, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD coach Craig McRae is hoping small forward Jack Ginnivan can help lift the Magpies' goalkicking potency in Saturday's Grand Final and give them the firepower they will need to out-gun Brisbane. 

The Magpies have kicked 9.6 and 8.10 in their two finals this year to overcome Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney in low-scoring clashes. The Lions, meanwhile, have booted 19.9 and 11.13 in wins against Port Adelaide and Carlton. 

Ginnivan has been elevated into Collingwood's 22 at the expense of Pat Lipinski, while the Magpies lose Dan McStay's reliability inside 50 after he kicked two goals a game for eight of the past nine weeks. 

McRae had faith in his team's ability to defend but suspected the Magpies would need more offensive output this week to deliver the club its first premiership since 2010. 

"It would be nice to [kick more goals]. The reality is you [need to] kick more goals than the opposition. We've got confidence in our defence too," McRae said at Friday's Grand Final media conference.  

"We've kicked nine or 10 goals each game and we’ve kept the opposition to less than that. We defend the ground really well."

Jack Ginnivan in action during Collingwood's preliminary final against Greater Western Sydney on September 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Asked if he thought the Magpies could win while kicking eight or nine goals, the coach said: "I wouldn't have thought so. But each game presents something different. This team is a potent attack and we're going to have to defend the ground well as well."

McRae said the decision to bring Ginnivan into the 22 after starting both finals as the substitute was based on the small forward's ability to give the team a spark and help deliver the goals it will need to effectively replace McStay's output. 

"He's a big-game player and he's proven that on Anzac Day. He kicked multiple goals this year and last year, " McRae said. 

"We want a little bit more potency up forward and with Dan being out and kicking a couple of goals each week, we think Jack can play that role for us."


Friday's Grand Final parade, which returned to the streets and drew thousands of fans to the MCG precinct, was nothing like McRae had ever experienced as a premiership player with Brisbane under coach Leigh Matthews. His former coach had reached out this week to wish him well. 

"Leigh sent me a text early in the week and I'm not sitting here without Leigh's influence on me and the lessons he taught all of us that were involved in that team, " McRae said. 

"That part of our history is something you never forget."

Collingwood captain Darcy Moore has an opportunity on Saturday to receive the premiership cup from his father Peter if the Magpies are successful, prompting a week of dreaming since the preliminary final win against GWS. 

"The whole team has been dreaming for the last week or so … it's why you play footy and you dream of it as a kid, so it's exciting and a lovely personal touch if we're successful," Moore said. 

Darcy Moore and Harris Andrews hold the Premiership cup after the 2023 AFL Grand Final Parade on September 29, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm thrilled and hopefully it happens. We've done a lot of dreaming and now it's time to get out there and perform."

Asked which of his teammates could elevate themselves on the Grand Final stage, Moore said there had been a hint early this week that Will Hoskin-Elliott was in a good position to perform. 

"Will Hoskin-Elliott chose Monday's meeting to make a joke for the first time since he's been at the club, and it absolutely brought the house down," Moore said. 

"I think most people were just laughing because he said something … but it was a great joke that landed."