UNBELEIVABLY EPIC is two words to describe this round of football, it was a mega finals series within the home and away season.
The round started off with 5 of the first 6 games decided by under 5 points, saw former Magpie and current St Kilda midfielder Nathan Freeman play his first game after five seasons on an AFL list and had Sydney Swan Alex Johnson return after six years on the sidelines. Buddy kicked 6 and Michael Walters took what could be mark of the year plus much, much, much more.
You better have recorded every game.
Oh and in other news, West Coast Eagle and Brownlow Medal fancy Andrew Gaff, known for his professional, well-mannered and clean approach sent 18-year-old Fremantle Docker Andrew Brayshaw into oblivion with a punch Barry Hall’d be dazed by. West Coast won the game by 58 points.
WATCH: Andrew Gaff’s sickening off-the-ball hit on Andrew Brayshaw.
It was the last thing you’d expect even in the most hostile of games, the Western Derby. A game that has seen plenty of spite in it’s 23-year history, this was one game that will stick in the mind of fans and players alike for many years. During the third quarter of Sunday afternoon’s game between the Eagles and the Dockers, Andrew Gaff was tussling with fellow Andrew, Andrew Brayshaw on the far wing of Optus Stadium. Brayshaw had up until this point being playing quite well and so had Gaff. As they were confronting each other, Gaff did the unthinkable and threw a left hook downing the youngster and sending him to hospital with a broken jaw.
The incident sparked a brawl involving many of the players, including Gaff. Gaff was taken to the bench and looked incredibly emotional and remorseful in the hands of coach Adam Simpson. This fizzled out and broke into another brawl later in the term when he was met solidly by Fremantle late inclusion Michael Johnson and defender Luke Ryan. This followed with a chorus of boos for a few Fremantle players involved in the remonstration. Dockers coach Ross Lyon had to calm his troops at the 3QTR-time break to keep them from bringing themselves into “disrepute” Lyon said when talking to the media post-game.
The West Coast #3 was in the last quarter given a standing ovation after the game and mobbed by teammates after kicking a goal in the 4th quarter. Many pundits and fans taking to social media to voice their disgust for the West Coast fans support of Gaff’s actions.
In an interview with David King on Fox Footy post-match the West Coast superstar apologised to the family of Andrew Brayshaw.
“I feel sick. I feel sick about it.
“I did the wrong thing and I’d like to think it doesn’t indicate my character. My main thought is how he is. I’m very remorseful and feel sick about it.
“What will happen will happen. My only thought is how Andy is. It is what it is and what will happen will happen.” Gaff said.
The brother of Andrew Brayshaw, Hamish is teammates with Gaff.
Taking Barry Hall’s famous hit on Brent Staker from 2008 as a precedent, the West Coast midfielder will miss close to the rest of the season through suspension, a devastating blow to the Eagles.