Andrew Gaff and Andrew Brayshaw were playing golf with each other just four days before the West Coast star punched the Freo youngster, it has been revealed.
Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett made the extraordinary revelation at a tense press conference in Perth on Monday.
Gaff is facing a very lengthy suspension after hitting Brayshaw behind the play in Sunday’s Western Derby at Optus Stadium.
Brayshaw suffered a broken jaw, four displaced teeth and required surgery. His mouth has basically been wired shut and he will not be able to eat solid food for four weeks.
Complicating the issue is the fact that Brayshaw’s brother Hamish is Gaff’s teammate at West Coast.
“I think five days ago the brothers and Andrew Gaff were on the golf course together,” Nisbett said.
“It’s an extraordinary situation we all find ourselves in at the moment. We’re very grateful that Andrew Brayshaw’s in reasonable shape considering what happened and his parents are accepting of Gaff’s apology.”
Nisbett said that Gaff and Andrew Brayshaw have a “genuine friendship”.
“Kids come through the system all the time, it wouldn’t surprise you with Hamish at our club that there is a reasonable relationship there,” he said.
Nisbett described commentary in the media suggesting Gaff could face criminal charges as “unwarranted”.
He also denied that the club were in contact with WA police about the potential of Gaff facing charges in light of the WA Police Commissioner saying the incident could be looked at.
“We view the on-field incidents as a means of going through a process when people are reported, things happen, incidents happen, we’re looking at it as an on-field incident and will go through correct processes,” he said.
“There are a lot of things that happen in game football that people can put in context any way they like. In this case we will get the AFL tribunal to look at this system and that’s what we will do.”
Nisbett said that maybe the time had come for a send-off rule to be introduced for incidents like the Gaff-Brayshaw one.
Meanwhile, Nisbett was not happy with Fremantle coach Ross Lyon’s comments in his post-match press conference about Gaff’s punch on Brayshaw, labelling them “inappropriate”.
“Unfortunately they were made,” Nisbett said of Lyon’s comments.
“I’d like to think that when you make those comments you try and take the emotion out of the situation.
“It’s difficult to do that, but you also need to be extremely accurate if you’re going to be making comments like that.”