Eagle Gaff to cop wrath of AFL tribunal

Justin Chadwick, Michael Ramsey and Roger Vaughan
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AFL EAGLES DOCKERS ANDREW GAFF PUNCH

A screenshot of Fremantle's Andrew Brayshaw after being punched by West Coast's Andrew Gaff

Andrew Gaff and West Coast will pay a colossal price for his hit on Andrew Brayshaw, with his AFL season over and the Eagles' premiership hopes stricken.

Gaff will throw himself at the mercy of the tribunal on Tuesday night to answer a striking charge that match review officer Michael Christian graded as intentional with severe impact to the head.

Brayshaw underwent surgery on Sunday night in the wake of a tumultuous Western Derby against Fremantle to repair his broken jaw and three displaced lower teeth.

The 18-year-old Dockers newcomer has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Gaff and West Coast have apologised for the blow.

Gaff also had a spotless tribunal record before Sunday's brutal blow, but none of that will save him from a lengthy suspension.

Based on tribunal precedents, Gaff can expect a seven-game ban, which is what Sydney's Barry Hall received for the 2008 punch that knocked out West Coast opponent Brent Staker.

Melbourne forward Tomas Bugg was banned for six weeks last year after a punch similar to the Gaff incident.

But his Sydney opponent Callum Mills was able to play next week and the impact was graded as high, not severe.

Gaff is expected to appear in person at the Melbourne hearing.

The direct referral to the tribunal means the length of the suspension is in the hands of the three-man jury.

His best hope is a six-match ban, but that is unlikely to help given the Eagles should finish second and gain a home qualifying final.

They would have to lose that match and make the grand final for Gaff to return this season.

Gaff's lengthy suspension will mean West Coast are without two of their best players at the business end of the season.

Ruckman Nic Naitanui is out of action because of a knee reconstruction.

Gaff becomes a restricted free agent at season's end, meaning he may have played his last game for West Coast.

Meanwhile, West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett apologised to the Brayshaw family and to the Dockers for Gaff's punch.

But Nisbett scoffed at talk that police should charge Gaff.

WA Police commissioner Chris Dawson has confirmed the punch thrown by Gaff will be assessed.

He also said it was rare for matters in professional sport to be dealt with by police.

The Gaff punch and the spotfires it sparked during the derby also have renewed calls for the AFL to introduce the red card.

Gaff's report headed 15 charges that Christian laid on Monday.

There were also six melee fines out of Sunday's dramatic Western Derby, while Dockers veteran Michael Johnson was fined $2000 for rough conduct against Gaff in the wake of the Brayshaw incident.

In a bizarre twist, it has emerged that Gaff and Brayshaw played golf together just five days before Sunday's match.