Ginnivan chases goal to join Central Vic premiership club


WHETHER he is in the starting 22 or the sub, Castlemaine’s Jack Ginnivan is aiming to join the premier’s club when Collingwood tackles Brisbane Lions in the AFL grand final on Saturday.

Taken at pick 13 in the 2021 rookie draft, Ginnivan has become a cult figure with the Magpie Army.

The 20-year-old journey’s to the big league began with Newstead and then kicked on at Castlemaine, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye and Bendigo Pioneers.

In 41 matches, Ginnivan has kicked 58 goals, with the career-high being five as he earned the Anzac Day medal against Essendon in just his 10th game in the ’21 season.

After being on the sidelines for the opening four rounds of this season, Ginnivan played the next eight, was out of the line-up between rounds 13 and 21.

He was recalled for the round 22 win against Geelong.

A week later and the Magpies were beaten by four goals in the clash with Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium.

Ginnivan was the sub in the qualifying final win against Melbourne, and last Friday night’s one-point preliminary final win against Greater Western Sydney Giants.

He has kicked 12 goals in 13 matches this season.

A Collingwood victory on Saturday would put the Magpies level with Carlton and Essendon for most VFL/AFL premierships on 16.

Should the Magpies swoop and claim the cup, Ginnivan will become the 11th draftee from the Pioneers to have won an AFL premiership.

The first was Dean Solomon with Essendon in 2000, and the latest was Tommy Cole when the West Coast Eagles soared to a dramatic win against Collingwood in 2018.

A Pioneers’ draftee has celebrated victory in 13 of the past 22 grand finals.

Among them were Geelong’s Joel Selwood in 2007, ’09, ’11 and ’22; Richmond’s Dustin Martin in 2017, ’19 and ’20; West Coast’s Michael Braun and Adam Selwood in 2006; and Jake Stringer with Western Bulldogs in 2016.

It was multiple premiership wins for Geelong’s Josh Hunt in 2007 and ’11, and Hawthorn’s Brent Guerra in 2008 and ’13.

The Hawks’ line-up of 2008 included Rick Ladson on a wing.

Carlton’s team in the incredible run of success in 1979, ’81 and ’82 was stacked with players recruited from the Bendigo Football League which was in the Blues’ zone.

Almost a third of those premiership winning teams had started in the BFL.

The ’79 line-up included Sandhurst’s Geoff Southby and Trevor Keogh, Kyneton’s Jim Buckley, Golden Square’s Peter McConville.

The Blues also had Heathcote’s Peter Francis, and Mitiamo’s Ken Sheldon.

In ’81 the Carlton team had Buckley, McConville and Sheldon, along with Eaglehawk’s Rod Ashman and Des English.

Next year it was Ashman, Buckley, English, McConville, Sheldon, and Castlemaine’s Warren ‘Wow’ Jones who marked grand final glory.

In 1987, South Bendigo’s Peter Dean was on the half-back line as the Blues upset Hawthorn.

Eight seasons later and the Blues defence included Peter Dean and Michael Sexton, and legendary centreman Greg ‘Diesel’ Williams from Golden Square who played in the forward line and kicked five goals to earn the Norm Smith Medal.

Two of Carlton’s greatest grand final wins were in 1970 and ’72.

The Ron Barassi-coached team which staged a remarkable second half fightback to beat Collingwood in 1970 included South Bendigo’s Barry Mulcair on a half-back flank.

Two years later and Sandhurst’s Geoff Southby, Trevor Keogh and Paul Hurst were with the navy blues as they beat Richmond, 28.9 (177) to 22.18 (150).

Carlton’s captain-coach was great ruckman/forward John Nicholls who had been recruited from Maryborough in 1957 and went on to play 328 games for the Blues.

In the 1950s, Maryborough was competing in the Ballarat Football League.

Sandhurst Football Club not only has plenty of stars who went on to win VFL/AFL premierships, but also grand final-winning captains in Graham Arthur at Hawthorn in 1961, and Fred Swift at Richmond in 1967.

The Hawks’ first premiership team of ’61 included Sandhurst’s Brendan Edwards who was best on ground against Footscray, now Western Bulldogs.

For all the great stories of premiership wins linked to Bendigo there’s also many who were runners-up.

Among them was Ray Byrne who in a 219-game career across stints at Carlton, Collingwood and Geelong played in four grand finals.

Byrne was with the Blues in the ’73 grand final against Richmond where a team-mate was the late Brian Walsh who had been recruited from Sandhurst.

A run of 22 finals by Byrne included the ’79, ’80 and ’81 grand finals where Collingwood was runner-up each time.

Byrne would later play a crucial role in the development of a talented crop of players which stretched from Bendigo to as far north as Mildura as general manager of the Bendigo Pioneers Football Club in the TAC Cup, now Coates Talent League.

It was 13 years ago that Sandhurst’s Nick Dal Santo played for St Kilda in the drawn grand final and replay against Collingwood.

A grand final rivalry between Collingwood and Brisbane Lions stretches back to 2002 and ’03 when the Lions beat the Magpies both times.

Collingwood’s team in both contests included high-marking forward Chris Tarrant who had been drafted from the Bendigo Pioneers via Mildura.

Tarrant kicked 367 goals across 268 matches at Collingwood, Fremantle, and back at Collingwood again.