Andrew Brayshaw can’t eat solids for month after Andrew Gaff AFL ‘king hit’, Fremantle Dockers say
Fremantle rookie Andrew Brayshaw has undergone surgery to repair a broken jaw and three “displaced” lower teeth after being punched by West Coast’s Andrew Gaff, the Dockers have announced.
- Andrew Brayshaw recovering at home after surgery, will miss rest of the season
- Hit by West Coast’s Andrew Gaff likely to be referred straight to AFL tribunal
- Ex-Eagles coach Mick Malthouse thinks Gaff will be suspended for up to five weeks
The AFL club has released a statement saying Brayshaw is recovering at home with his parents, cannot eat solid foods for four weeks and will miss the rest of the season.
The Dockers said the 18-year-old midfielder’s teeth were “put back into place and splinted” and medical staff had advised the surgery “went well”.
Gaff struck Brayshaw off the ball during the third quarter of West Coast’s 58-point victory, prompting an emotional Dockers coach Ross Lyon to describe it as a “king hit”.
AFL tweet: Andrew Brayshaw left the ground bleeding from the mouth after an incident involving Andrew Gaff. #AFLEaglesFreo
The attack has sparked debate about possible criminal charges for on-field incidents and revived talk of a send-off rule in the AFL.
Gaff, 26, apologised after the game.
“I just want to apologise to Andy, I feel sick. I did the wrong thing and I’d like to think it doesn’t indicate my character,” the Eagles midfielder told Fox Footy.
“My main thought is how he is … I’m very remorseful and I feel sick about it.”
When asked for his version of the incident, Gaff said: “It’s hard to say … it is what it is and what will happen will happen.”
The hit is likely to be referred straight to the AFL tribunal where Gaff is facing a suspension of several weeks.
Gaff ‘probably didn’t even think about it’: Malthouse
Former Eagles coach Mick Malthouse said he was shocked by the hit but described it as “totally out of character” for Gaff.
“I think he probably hit him in the right spot at the wrong time and caused maximum damage for something he would probably never be able to do in another five years,” he told ABC Radio Perth.
“But it’s happened and he’s going to have to wear that.
“I suspect that he’ll get three to five [weeks].
“There was malice but to me it was by a bloke who probably didn’t even think about it and threw the fist out, and the consequences are grave.”
Tensions ran high in Sunday’s Western Derby after the third-quarter punch. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)
But Malthouse said he would not like to see criminal charges come into play for on-field incidents.
“Does the football field or the sporting arena have enough governance to penalise the person?” he said.
“I hope that doesn’t take place because I think we’ve got enough policies in place where we counter and make sure that the game stays the way we want it.”
Bell questions ‘standing ovation’ from Eagles fans
Former Dockers skipper and ABC Radio Perth breakfast presenter Peter Bell said he felt for Brayshaw.
Fremantle Dockers tweet: Update – Andrew Brayshaw off to hospital now, being treated for a broken jaw #AFLEaglesFreo #foreverfreo
“Try to get your head around not being confident to take your mouthguard out because all your teeth are going to come with it,” he said.
Bell also questioned the behaviour of some Eagles fans who later gave Gaff a rousing reception when he kicked a goal in the fourth quarter.
“It’s not usual behaviour to celebrate a goal with a standing ovation that is far enhanced, the sound collectively, than a normal celebration of a goal,” he said.
“I understand it’s emotive, but it’s emotive also to end up in hospital with a broken jaw and your teeth caved in. It’s not really what you expect when you go to play football.
“Also, I immediately turn to the family, there’s mum and dad, who’ve come along to watch the game … I just don’t get it.
“You’re sitting there watching your son being taken to hospital and then the crowd’s giving a standing ovation to the person who did it.”
Condemnation for Gaff extends beyond AFL
Senior WA politicians have strongly condemned Gaff for his actions, with Sport Minister Mick Murray saying it sent a poor message to children.
Education Minister and Eagles fan Sue Ellery said she was shocked by the incident.
“That kind of violence is unacceptable. I don’t understand why it happened … it’s indefensible,” Ms Ellery said.
Gaff was one of the top fancies for the Brownlow Medal but may not play again this season.
(AAP: Julian Smith)
Lyon told reporters after the game that Brayshaw was “pretty distraught” after the incident.
“I’ve got an 18-year-old kid that I’ve seen in a real mess when I came down to the room … and his mum in tears as I walked in. It’s not very palatable,” he said after the game.
“It’s very distressing.
“My senior players certainly wanted retribution and I had to stay out on the ground longer at three-quarter time to settle a couple of them down and say don’t bring yourself into disrepute.”