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Snap Shot: Tough love for dead-eye Magpie Jack Ginnivan

Except Jack we bet, who showed that season his accuracy around goals, ending the season with a miraculous 119.14 to his name, a goalkicking accuracy of 89 per cent. So far in the AFL he’s tracking at 85 per cent, having snapped the behind on his non-preferred left foot.

His proud dad is just enjoying watching Jack from afar living his dream with the Magpies and can’t wait for the chance to watch him live as his son is one of seven players to have played their first three games of AFL football without a crowd, a massive contrast to the Tigers’ Jack Graham who played in front of 198,336 people in his first three games.

You’re a fair way from Ballarat, Shifter

It was just another Sunday watching the next batch of AFL stars for talent guru Kevin Sheehan when he headed to Bendigo to help commentate a live stream of the match between the Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Falcons.

The Bendigo Pioneers’ Harley Reid runs with the ball during the clash with the Geelong Falcons.

The Bendigo Pioneers’ Harley Reid runs with the ball during the clash with the Geelong Falcons.Credit:AFL Photos

At least that’s what he thought as he watched the next Jack Ginnivan in Bendigo’s Harley Reid (the talented bottom-ager kicked 127 goals for Tongala in under-14s) and exciting Geelong Falcons’ midfielder Mitch Knevitt rack up 36 disposals on a windy day in his old stamping ground.

But it didn’t take long for his day to take a turn when the police sirens were turned on about 30 kilometres outside of Bendigo encouraging ‘Shifter’ Sheehan, who lives in Melbourne, to pull over.

Shifter wondered what he’d done wrong until the polite policeman enquired what he was doing so far from Melbourne during lockdown. ‘Shifter’ didn’t have a form four but something much more valuable, a letter of authorisation to work at the game

Alas, Shifter had a nervous moment when he realised although the date on the form was correct he had not changed his destination from Ballarat – where he’d been the previous time – to Bendigo, prompting one of the policemen to say, “you’re a fair way from Ballarat″⁣.

Luckily one of the policemen knew the football was on in Bendigo and knew the explanation from the former Cat who hailed from Bendigo was ridgy-didge, with Shifter more than happy to praise them for doing their job as lockdown defenders very well.

Two big-hearted Bulldogs, the fan and the Brownlow medallist

The past two seasons has reminded anyone who had lost touch that supporters are at the heart of the game.

And none were more passionate than that great Bulldog Garry Hincks, who watched the Bulldogs in every match from 1974 until crowds were banned due to COVID last year.

No one was sadder than Western Bulldogs Brownlow medallist Tony Liberatore when he received a text message on Friday to say Hincks had died, with Liberatore capturing the heart of Hincks in a beautiful Martin Flanagan yarn way back in 2013.

Liberatore re-read the story on Monday night and was struck by what Hincks had said when he sat beside him on the Gold Coast to watch the Bulldogs lose their eighth consecutive game on the trot after meeting him on the bus from the airport.

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Hincks said to Liberatore “we will win the flag in three years” and he was spot on, with the Bulldogs breaking their premiership drought in 2016.

“I was so sad to hear of his passing,” Liberatore said. “His story just blew me away.”

Hincks and Liberatore joined other Bulldog greats in unfurling the flag in the opening round of 2017, with Liberatore rapt to share the moment with someone who followed them through thick and thin.

“He was so proud of that, he was tickled pink,” Liberatore said. “At the end of the day, it’s still a supporters’ game.”

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