‘King hit’ leaves Brayshaw with fractured jaw
AN EMOTIONAL Fremantle coach Ross Lyon predicted Andrew Gaff would be banned for the rest of the season for his punch which broke the jaw of Dockers youngster Andrew Brayshaw in Sunday night's crazy western derby at Perth Stadium.
West Coast's 58-point win was completely overshadowed by one of the most explosive episodes in derby history, which could ultimately rock the club's premiership bid.
Gaff, who said on Sunday night he felt sick about the incident, is likely to be sent straight to the tribunal by match review officer Michael Christian on Monday.
"Andrew Brayshaw was king hit 100m off the ball. He's got a fractured jaw and four displaced teeth that are caved in and he'll be undergoing surgery tonight," Lyon said.
"I've got an 18-year-old kid that I saw in a real mess when I came down to the rooms and his mum in tears as I was walking in. So it's not very palatable.
"It was very distressing. He was pretty distraught. I gave him a hug. It was hard to keep the emotion back yourself when you see his mum. I wouldn't like to see my son like that.
"It's a pretty significant moment I would have thought - our No.2 pick won't play again this year I wouldn't have thought."
Gaff, who was a leading Brownlow Medal contender, is a hotly-pursued free agent and if he cops a five-match suspension or higher it is possible he will never play for the Eagles again.
Brayshaw, the brother of Gaff's West Coast teammate Hamish Brayshaw, is likely to miss the rest of the season with his injuries.
A visibly shattered Gaff, who has never been suspended, came to the bench after the third-quarter flashpoint and appeared close to tears with his head in his hands. He was comforted by club integrity officer Peter Staples and coach Adam Simpson during play.
Gaff returned to the field and was verbally and physically targeted by furious opponents and was then left groggy himself after copping a high shoulder from Fremantle veteran Michael Johnson.
"My senior players certainly wanted retribution and I had to stay out on the ground longer at three-quarter time to settle a couple down and say 'don't bring yourself into disrepute'," Lyon said.
"I'm just putting the facts forward. Andrew's (Gaff) unlikely to play again this year. There was certainly a precedent set. I think Barry Hall got seven."
Simpson said the punch may not have been intentional but refused to elaborate on why.
"All I know is that Andrew (Gaff) is quite upset. Obviously he's really thinking about Brayshaw and Brayshaw's family," Simpson said.
"He's not feeling great at the moment. One thing I do know is Andrew's character and who he is as a person and as a player can't be questioned.
"We're working through it and what will be will be in the next few days. As much as it's going to look like it was intentional, I'm not quite sure it was."
Simpson said Gaff was in shock when he came to the bench following the incident.
Fremantle great Matthew Pavlich described Gaff's wild left fist as disturbing and called for a minimum of a three or four week ban before the extent of his injuries were apparent.
King, a boundary rider for Fox Sports, feared the game would descend into chaos as Fremantle players learned about the Gaff-Brayshaw incident. The off-the-ball incident appeared to go unseen by players.
"This really threatens to explode down here. It's quite tense. It's really quite volatile," King said.
West Coast remain well-placed for a top-two finish but now face a huge test without ruckman Nic Naitanui and now Gaff for an extended period. Defender Will Schofield also suffered a hamstring injury in the opening term and did not return.
Elliot Yeo won the first renamed Glendinning-Allan Medal after starring with 26 touches and two goals.
Gaff finished an extraordinary day with 33 possessions and a goal, while Jack Redden was also superb with 33 disposals and a goal.
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