West Coast under fire for 'classless' response to Andrew Gaff punch

WARNING: The following article contains graphic images that some readers may find confronting.

The West Coast Eagles have been slammed for their reaction to the brutal sucker punch that left 18-year-old Andrew Brayshaw with a broken jaw.

Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff is facing a huge ban and the possibility of criminal charges following his off-the-ball punch that floored Fremantle’s Brayshaw on Sunday.

Brayshaw underwent surgery on Sunday night and will miss the remainder of the AFL season after having his jaw broken, lip cut, and four teeth displaced.

Gaff will be sent straight to the AFL tribunal for the sickening act, which was unprovoked and has been widely condemned on social media.

Andrew Gaff is facing a huge ban for punching Andrew Brayshaw. Image: Getty

And in the aftermath of one of the ugliest on-field acts in recent years, the West Coast Eagles have come in for some heavy criticism.

The main source of anger stems from the way fans and teammates treated Gaff after the shocking incident.

Those in attendance at Optus Stadium on Sunday could be heard loudly cheering their star player on multiple occasions after the brutal punch.

Eagles players also went out of their way to get around him after he slotted a goal late in the match, clearly trying to show their support, but leaving many onlookers unhappy.

However some thought fans wouldn’t have known Gaff had clobbered Brayshaw, given it happened so far off the ball and no replay was shown at the ground.

Fans were also left unimpressed with a tweet from the Eagles’ account on Monday morning.

“Waking up after a Derby win!” they tweeted alongside a picture of two players celebrating a goal.

The seemingly innocuous tweet would normally be taken well, but not after one of their players left a teenage opponent hospitalised.

Fans were quick to express their disdain about the tweet.

Many also thought coach Adam Simpson erred when he let Gaff go back on the field in the second half.

Gaff was originally brought off, with Dockers players intent on getting some retribution.

But the midfielder returned to the field in the final term and continued to be targeted, and was eventually picked off by a fierce Michael Johnson bump.

Simpson also defended his player in his post-match presser and questioned whether the punch was intentional.

“As much as it’s going to look like it was intentional, I’m not quite sure it was,” Simpson said.

“One thing I do know is Andrew’s character and who he is as a person and as a player can’t be questioned.

“Obviously he’s very emotional and his thoughts are with the Brayshaw family.

“He’s quite remorseful and his character can’t be questioned.”

Brayshaw won’t be able to eat solid food for the next four weeks.

The 18-year-old has officially been ruled out for the rest of the AFL season, and is now at home recovering with his parents.