COLLINGWOOD football boss Graham Wright is adamant Jack Ginnivan was not forced out by the premiers.
Ginnivan was traded to Hawthorn on Wednesday, just two days after fellow small forward Lachie Schultz joined the Magpies from Fremantle.
The surprise news of Schultz's interest in a move to Collingwood last week had immediately sparked speculation around Ginnivan's future.
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But Wright insisted he was "a little bit surprised" when he found out from Hawthorn list manager Mark McKenzie on Tuesday that the Hawks had met with the 20-year-old livewire.
Wright said the Magpies had "not one" conversation about Ginnivan with any other club during the trade period.
"He was a contracted player, he's a premiership player, he's 20 years old, and we were pretty clear we saw it that way," Wright said.
"It was Jack's decision to look elsewhere. In the end we appreciate that, we accept it and we move on."
Ginnivan had a turbulent final year at Collingwood, which began with a ban for illicit drug use over summer.
He courted further controversy when he attended the Moonee Valley races the night before the Grand Final, prompting Pies coach Craig McRae's assertion Ginnivan should have "read the room".
Wright played down suggestions Ginnivan's races attendance and McRae's public reaction had played a role in the player's exit.
"I think that's been a little bit overblown. Players can pick and choose what they want to do," Wright said.
"It's a little bit unusual, obviously, the day before the Grand Final, but it wasn't the end of the world either."
Ginnivan welcomed the completion of his trade move on social media.
"What a f***ing ride, thank you everyone that made it elite," he posted, accompanied by a picture of him holding the premiership cup.
Ginnivan has been a divisive figure for fans throughout his 42-game career, but Wright said he hopes Magpies supporters show the player respect when he plays against his former club in future.
As well as Ginnivan, Collingwood also traded away experienced midfielder Taylor Adams, whose bombshell move to Sydney was completed last week.
But the Magpies are bullish about their chances of improving next year as they chase back-to-back premierships for the first time in almost 90 years.
"We feel like that improvement will probably come out of our young guys as much as anything, and also Dan McStay and John Noble, who didn't play in the team on Grand Final day for different reasons," Wright said.
"(Reef) McInnes and (Finlay) Macrae and Ed Allan and these guys who want and deserve opportunity - that's where we hope our improvement comes from.