Sam Mitchell explains Jack Ginnivan's fiery moment with Hawthorn teammate in AFL victory

The Hawks coach has revealed what was really going on.

Sam Mitchell has explained that Jack Ginnivan and Will Day are actually good mates and a startling incident during Saturday's AFL game was just one player holding the other accountable. Day could be seen grabbing Ginnivan heatedly before pushing his Hawthorn teammate away after a goal against Adelaide.

Ginnivan's goal atoned for an earlier blunder in which he ignored two wide-open teammates and blazed away at goal - but missed. Ginnivan's teammates all got around him, but Day didn't look very happy and the two had a staggering exchange.

Fans were concerned that it was genuine anger, but Hawks coach Mitchell explained after the game that Ginnivan and Day have a great rapport. According to Mitchell, Day was getting into Ginnivan for burning his teammates earlier in the game - but it's all part of leadership and accountability.

Sam Mitchell, Jack Ginnivan and Will Day.
Sam Mitchell has explained the incident between Jack Ginnivan and Will Day. Image: Getty

“I got warned that there might be a couple of questions about that,” Mitchell said in his press conference. “There’s this whole little group of players, they spend all their time together and they’ve all got their celebrations and all those things.

“Basically, I think what was happening was they were getting into Ginni because his two best mates were right in front of him and he didn’t see them and he had a shot at goal. They’re into him about that.

“I think the banter those guys have, in a fun way, they’re having great fun playing footy as young men in their early 20s. But by the same token they’ve started to hold each other to a high account.

Will Day and Jack Ginnivan during Hawthorn's win over Adelaide.
Will Day got into Jack Ginnivan after a goal in Hawthorn's win over Adelaide.

“If you look at us as a group I think they’re a good snapshot. They started off in their careers having fun, perhaps not doing everything they should be doing. And now when they go outside of what they know is the best thing for the team, they pull each other up and so the coaches don’t need to be getting involved. They’re basically running themselves.

“I thought the maturity that younger forward group showed today - Ginni, Dylan Moore, Connor Macdonald, Calsher Dear - after a bit of a rough second quarter, I thought that was a big part of the win. That goal right on three-quarter time was vital to it and Day recognised that moment and was sure to pass it on.”

Day moved to calm the waters later on Saturday night, posting a photo of Ginnivan on social media and writing: “Love this guy, just a fired-up celebration - chill.” Ginnivan responded jokingly: “We f***ing hate each other.”


Earlier in the press conference, Mitchell used his platform to blast a racist social media post that was aimed at one of his players on the morning of the game. The Hawks coach didn't go into specifics, but said any Hawthorn fan who racially abuses players isn't welcome.

"I love footy and I love our game, and I think the position we have as leaders of the community, we need to do the best job we possibly can around discrimination," Mitchell said. "We have some stuff - I don't want to go into it - but I just want to put it out there that if you have any form of racism in you, as a Hawthorn person, we're not interested in having you as part of our club.

"So while we're all enjoying a fantastic win, and we should all be enjoying it, unfortunately some parts of our Hawthorn family can't enjoy it because of what heroes on their keyboards think they're capable of doing. Any one of those who ever wears brown and gold, we don't want you."

with AAP