(Clockwise from left): Jack Ginnivan celebrates Collingwood's 2023 premiership, poses for a photo in Hawthorn colours, poses with the Anzac Day Medal in 2022 and is tackled by Mason Redman. Pictures: AFL Photos

FROM the premiership to the rule tweak, the bleached blond hair to the bombshell trade, Jack Ginnivan has packed more into his first 50 games than most. 

While Harley Reid, Nick Daicos and Jason Horne-Francis have all generated just as many headlines, if not more, Ginnivan was recruited as a rookie – not pick No.1 or as the son of a gun – the day after being overlooked in the 2020 AFL Draft on the night of his 18th birthday. 

Since making a debut during a period when Collingwood was without a permanent senior coach and a club in transition, the kid who used to kick bags of goals back in Castlemaine has become a gun in the AFL. 

But it hasn't been without controversy, on and off the field. 

Ginnivan rose from anonymous rookie to adored fan favourite at the Magpies within a matter of weeks during a whirlwind start to 2022. 

In that time, he was engulfed in 'GoPro Gate' and won the Anzac Day Medal after kicking five goals in front of 84,205 people in just his 10th game. 

Jack Ginnivan poses for a photo during Hawthorn's official team photo day on February 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Ginnivan has curated a massive following on social media – 131,000 followers on Instagram, 109,000 on TikTok – through his do-it-his-own-way attitude. With that following have come lucrative sponsorship deals, even despite a TikTok incident that required an apology. 

And through that popularity, a plethora of sponsorship deals have been tabled to his manager. They have carefully selected some but not all. Ginnivan opted to sign with Australian boot manufacturer Concave rather than bigger global brands. He became a racing ambassador for Moonee Valley after his Grand Final eve visit. 

Of the 71 players recruited before him in 2020 – including the pre-season and rookie Drafts – Ginnivan is the only rookie to reach 50 games and the 12th from that draft class. 

AFL.com.au has plotted the big moments of his AFL journey at Collingwood and Hawthorn ahead of Sunday's milestone game against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.

Jack Ginnivan celebrates a goal during round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Debut game

With Nathan Buckley departing the club just over a month earlier, interim coach Robert Harvey handed Ginnivan his first opportunity at AFL level against Port Adelaide in round 19, 2021. The chance came after the goalsneak kicked 10 goals in the previous three VFL games, including back-to-back hauls of four. Ginnivan initially made headlines when he booted 119 goals for Newstead at the age of 11. Now he was away at AFL level. 

Jack Ginnivan is tackled by Dan Houston during Collingwood's clash against Port Adelaide in round 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

'GoPro Gate'

Ginnivan was thrust into the spotlight for the first time after the opening round of 2022 when he was handed a GoPro by one of Collingwood's digital team. It ignited the first inferno when he was slammed by Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes, creating a storm. Rather than shrink, Ginnivan bleached his hair blond the day after the round two game against Adelaide and turned up on the Saturday night stage against Geelong with the fresh look. Craig McRae preached self-expression and he got it with Ginnivan. Although no one could have forecast the explosion in popularity ahead. 

Anzac Day arrival

After absorbing weeks of criticism, praise and everything in between, Ginnivan became a household name when he won the Anzac Day Medal after kicking five goals in just his 10th AFL game. For a player not taken until the Rookie Draft to deliver on the big stage highlighted his big game ability. Six days after that Monday performance, Cornes turned up for the Sunday Footy Show with bleached blond hair, praising the small forward. Ginnivan was born box office and had now become it on the AFL stage. 


Semi-final show

By that September, Ginnivan had established himself as one of the more damaging small forwards in the game, despite a rule alteration affecting his impact. The AFL sent a directive to all clubs in July to not reward players who accentuate contact to help receive free kicks, essentially on the back of the way Ginnivan was being umpired. Despite the controversy, Ginnivan finished with 40 goals for the season, including three in his second final against Fremantle. In the space of seven months, Ginnivan had risen from anonymity to stardom for a variety of different reasons. 

Jack Ginnivan celebrates a goal during Collingwood's semi-final against Fremantle on September 10, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


After a season where he rose from nowhere, Ginnivan started the 2023 campaign on the sidelines due to a suspension, after the AFL found the small forward guilty of conduct unbecoming when footage emerged of him with an illicit substance in Torquay. Ginnivan was suspended for two pre-season games and the opening two games of the season, plus handed a $5,000 suspended fine. It took him an extra fortnight to get back in the senior side and he would spend another six weeks playing in the VFL midway through the season, before playing in the back end of 2023, including the games that mattered most. 

Grand Final day

Before Ginnivan became an ambassador for Moonee Valley, he created a stir when he attended the races for a few hours the night before the Grand Final. Even in the aftermath of the victory, McRae told the premiership player to "read the room". Those press conference comments and the exit meeting would become part of the reason Ginnivan left the club. After starting the qualifying final and the preliminary final as the sub, Ginnivan was in the 22 on the final day of the season. 

Jack Ginnivan celebrates Collingwood's win over Brisbane in the 2023 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

The trade

Things moved quickly last October. When Collingwood signalled its intentions to land contracted Docker Lachie Schultz, 12 months after poaching Bobby Hill from Greater Western Sydney, the writing was on the wall. Ginnivan had a year to run on his deal at the AIA Centre, but once Hawthorn offered four years in the closing 48 hours of the Trade Period, the move was sealed. He had greater opportunity and security at the club he grew up supporting. It was a wild few days for a player who went to Bali as a Collingwood premiership player, only to return with his career essentially on the move. 

Head high Easter Monday

After making an eye-catching start to his career at the Hawks, Ginnivan was back in the spotlight during a dramatic Easter Monday game that was delayed by 45 minutes due to severe weather. This time it was due to a lack of free kicks paid for high contact. It prompted AFL executive general manager football Laura Kane to concede the following day that the new Hawk should have been paid at least a couple of head high free kicks. Six days later, Ginnivan faced his old side at the Adelaide Oval during Gather Round. Finally, Ginnivan received a free kick for high contact against the Magpies.