YOU BETTER believe Jack Ginnivan has found a new way to prepare.
As his Collingwood teammates retired to their own quarters on Friday night, ahead of Saturday's Grand Final against Brisbane, Ginnivan found himself at Moonee Valley racetrack with a couple of mates to catch some action.
He did it with Collingwood's blessing and, ultimately, it paid dividends. In more ways than one. Just a touch over 12 hours later, Ginnivan was strutting his stuff and once again providing his trademark energy on the game's biggest stage.
"I picked a few winners," Ginnivan told AFL.com.au with a chuckle after the game.
"I'll be doing it again next year, hopefully."
The Collingwood fan-favourite is hard to keep out of the headlines. Perhaps it should have been no surprise, then, that his Grand Final morning was marked by the reports of his Mooney Valley outing.
But a couple of winners on the Friday night, and a big win on the Saturday evening, ultimately typified a whirlwind year for the exciting and eccentric 20-year-old former rookie pick.
Having played just eight of the side's first 21 matches this season, with two of those coming as the tactical sub, Ginnivan has made a profound impact since eventually returning to Collingwood's side over the last two months.
The sub again in the club's qualifying final victory over Melbourne and preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney, the small forward was doing chin-ups in the gym when Magpies coach Craig McRae told him earlier this week that he was in the 22.
"I was doing some chin-ups and 'Fly' came in and gave me the nod," Ginnivan said.
"Nathan Murphy and Trent Bianco were there at the time and they gave me a big hug."
Having started as the substitute in five of his 14 senior appearances this year, the decision had surprised Ginnivan. But he was ready for his chance, despite playing barely any prolonged football recently.
"It's the ability to stay ready," Ginnivan said.
"You're playing one quarter. I think there was two quarters in six weeks. It's not ideal preparation, but I've always had the mantra to just stay ready. I love going in and hitting bodies and I was doing that as the sub, trying to make an impact."
Now, after a career that's just three years old but has already been packed with highlights, headlines and moments to last a lifetime, Ginnivan is a premiership player. It's something he, more than most, can appreciate.
"Yeah … Jesus," Ginnivan said.
"I wasn't down in the dumps, but I wasn't playing that well and things weren't going my way. It's such a challenge to get back into this side, it's a good side. But I believed in myself, so to come out the other end is an amazing feeling.
"From where I've come, it's unreal. I've got this around my neck now. It's surreal."