West Coast’s Andrew Gaff arrived at the Melbourne Airport and was quickly put into a car on the tarmac to avoid the waiting media in the build-up to Tuesday’s eagerly anticipated AFL Tribunal case.
The Eagles star is facing a hefty suspension for his crude off-the-ball hit on Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw that left the teenager with a broken jaw and three displaced teeth.
The bizarre backdrop to the case continued on Tuesday as retired Fremantle great Matthew Pavlich refuted claims that Gaff and Brayshaw played golf together last week.
West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett told media on Monday that Gaff and Brayshaw had not only played golf with each other last week, but had a “genuine friendship”.
Pavlich took to Twitter on Tuesday to suggest that was far from the case, a message re-tweeted by Brayshaw’s housemate, Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale.
If you’re going to be critical of getting the facts right, you’d want to be sure that your’s are accurate also. Particularly if they’ve never actually met….🏌🏽♂️🤔
— Matthew Pavlich (@mattpav29) August 7, 2018
In Melbourne, media were left miffed after Gaff gave them a swerve, receiving treatment usually reserved for rock stars and top politicians.
According to News Corp, Gaff was met on the tarmac by officers from the Australian Federal Police.
“What right does Andrew Gaff, a footballer, have to get special treatment like that?” Nine Network news reader and host Tony Jones said on 3AW Radio.
“I tell you what, you’ve got it made if you’re born a footballer in this country.”
— Ayrton Woolley (@AyrtonWoolley) August 7, 2018
The latest twists in the Gaff case came on the same day that Neville Bruns, victim of a famous behind the play punch in 1985, called for the West Coast Eagle to receive a 12-month ban.
Bruns had his jaw broken by Leigh Matthews, widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time.
Matthews faced criminal charges but eventually received a good behaviour bond. He was also deregistered for four matches.
“Anybody who does a king hit like that has to get a minimum of 12 months off his career, and he can sit on the sidelines and think about what he’s done,” Bruns said on SEN.
“We deserve to deal out a very hefty penalty. I feel sorry for Andrew Gaff but I feel it has to be done.
“We’re trying to get rid of that one-punch thing … people die from it.”
‘Ridiculous’ interview slammed
Speaking about the Gaff incident on the Seven Network on Monday night, West Coast coach Adam Simpson clashed with presenter Basil Zempilas.
Zempilas quizzed Simpson about cultural issues at West Coast, arrogance and “a perception at the club players can do what they want to do”.
Simpson quickly became frustrated and said Zempilas was “getting caught up with the media storm”.
“I think we need to leave it at that,” he added, as the interview concluded.
Collingwood great Mick McGuane was one of the strongest critics of the interview.
The questions from Basil Zempilas @Channel7 to Adam Simpson @WestCoastEagles was ridiculous, unfair and unreasonable. It was laughable and he showed Adam Simpson little regard for what he stands for. Basil get a grip. #sensationalisingthesituation
— Michael McGuane (@MickMCG34) August 6, 2018
Gaff will find out his suspension on Tuesday night (AEST).