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AFL Star Could Face Criminal Charges Over Broken Jaw

Prominent lawyer Tom Percy believes criminal charges could be laid against West Coast player Andrew Gaff after what he called a “cowardly assault” against Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw.

Percy posted on Facebook:

“Andrew Gaff? What can you say?”

“He doesn’t deserve to play AFL again. Ever. (There is) a prima facie case for a police investigation. I’ve had people go to jail for less.”

Melbourne-based QC David Galbally agreed.

“Looking at it, it’s a very serious assault,” he told Fairfax.

“If you were just on the street and committed something like that, a judge would look at putting you in (jail). You would really run the risk of either getting a suspended sentence or getting a small stint,”

“He would be very hard-pushed to get a penalty that didn’t have a record for an assault like that — unprovoked.”

Adelaide legal expert Alex Ward believes a police investigation is warranted.

“The police should look at it, it is an assault — it’s a prima facie assault,” Mr Ward told FIVEaa on Monday.

“It’s got nothing to do with the game, it just happens to be a punch that occurs on an oval — other than that it is the outside world as far as I am concerned."

“By no means are you immune if you’re on the field. It doesn’t make any difference where it is."

“If you’re playing sport like football you actually consent to a level of violence that’s part of the game… in this instance, I can’t imagine you consent. It’s not part of the game.”

However West Coast coach Adam Simpson believes Andrew Gaff was merely trying to whack Andrew Brayshaw in the chest when he broke the Fremantle midfielder's jaw.

Gaff will front the AFL tribunal on Tuesday night over his unprovoked punch that has rocked the AFL.

The 26-year-old is almost certain to be rubbed out for the rest of the AFL season, and maybe even the early part of next year.

Brayshaw underwent surgery on Sunday night, and won't be able to eat solid food for the next four weeks.

Gaff had been widely regarded as one of the AFL's fairest players before his brain fade in the western derby.

Simpson doesn't believe Gaff meant to punch Brayshaw in the face.

"Well, hand on heart, and knowing Andrew and speaking to him post game, he legitimately said to me he didn't mean to hit him in the head," Simpson told Channel 7.

"We need to own the incident, and he did, and there's going to be consequences.

"But I think about 30 seconds before (the punch) he hit him in the chest, and I think he tried to do the same thing and got it horribly wrong."

Simpson said Gaff was struggling to come to terms with what he had done.

"Andrew is devastated. He's really disappointed in himself and he's let himself down, and the club," Simpson said.

"But he's not the victim of course, we know that, our thoughts are with Andrew Brayshaw."

"I think it was grossly out of character, and something that Andrew is very disappointed in.

"We need to own it, and we need to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The likely loss of Gaff for the rest of the season is a huge blow to West Coast's premiership hopes.

The Eagles currently sit two wins clear in second spot, and face a crunch clash with Port Adelaide in Adelaide on Saturday.

Gaff had been in career-best form this season, and he'll now join star ruckman Nic Naitanui on the sidelines for the rest of the year.

Spearhead Josh Kennedy (shin) is unlikely to be fit to take on the Power.

"It's going to be hard not having Gaffy," Eagles midfielder Elliot Yeo said.

"Andrew's a really good player for us, and what he brings is going to be sorely missed.

"But we have confidence that the kids we have coming through will be able to fill the role that Gaffy's been playing."

AAP

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