Classy reply after ‘horrific’ AFL punch saga
ANDREW Brayshaw has buried the hatchet after being clocked by West Coast star Andrew Gaff during last weekend's western derby in Perth.
The 18-year-old suffered a broken jaw after a shocking punch from Gaff sent him to the emergency room and spiralling out of the season.
Gaff's trial saw the 26-year-old midfielder cop an eight-week ban, meaning he will sit out the remainder of the successful Eagles' season.
Brayshaw had every reason to never speak to Gaff again after the horrific incident, but the Dockers youngster insisted there was no beef between them.
"The action itself is horrific," Brayshaw told Channel 7 on Thursday.
"But the person that Andrew Gaff is, I forgive him and I'm not going to hold a grudge against him as a person.
"Hamish told me that out of all the people he knows, and all the people in the AFL, Andrew Gaff would be the last person to do it. "(A) good bloke has made a bad mistake."
Gaff revealed he was "shattered" after his damning brain explosion and accepted the ban in full.
A meeting between the pair will be facilitated by brother Hamish Brayshaw, who is a close friend of Gaff's and a West Coast teammate.
"Thankfully Hamish is in a position to connect the two Andrews hopefully in the next day or two … and the two of them can shake hands and move on," Mark Brayshaw, Andrew's father, told SEN radio on Wednesday.
"It can potentially get nasty but I'm really hopeful it won't." Gaff's suspension is the longest in the AFL since St Kilda's Steven Baker was banned for nine games in 2008 after being found guilty of four separate offences in one game.
It's also the equal longest suspension for a single act since Essendon's Dean Solomon was outed for eight matches for striking Geelong's Cameron Ling, breaking his cheekbone, in a 2008 fixture.
Gaff again publicly apologised to Andrew Brayshaw after being banned by the tribunal.
"I'm really disappointed. I own my actions, and it really hurts a lot," Gaff told reporters.
"The last 48 hours have probably been the toughest couple of days of my life … I see myself as a caring, gentle and measured person and that's why it's disappointing so much more." Mark Brayshaw said he had also received an apology from Gaff's father. "He and his wife were upset and embarrassed and apologetic -and it's just a horrible thing to be in," Mark Brayshaw said.
Brayshaw senior said he told Gaff's father: "Please don't, in among all your considerations, don't worry about us." Mark Brayshaw said the AFL should examine introducing a send-off system in the wake of the incident.
He was driven home from the game by his son Hamish and they analysed footage of the incident.
"Hamish said to me, 'it's Andrew Gaff', it's one of his best mates and the most delightful bloke you have ever met," Mark Brayshaw said.
AFL great Greg Williams was among those urging Gaff to not let the incident define his career.
Williams, a dual Brownlow Medallist, went through a tribunal storm in 1997 when he received a nine-game ban for pushing an umpire.
"He played 180 games or so without touching anyone or hurting anyone and he played a lot of great games, so he doesn't have to change too much," Williams said.
"But it will affect him, there's no question. It has obviously affected him, the way he is." GWS coach Leon Cameron also echoed a common sentiment among the AFL fraternity. "Let's not crucify the kid just because he's made one big mistake," Cameron told reporters in Sydney.
"Andrew has got to live with that for the next four or five years of his footy life.
But the AFL are a forgiving bunch and I'm just hopeful we can do that sooner rather than later."
- with AAP