BEHIND THE SPORTS DESK: Was Gaff let off lightly?

AUSSIE RULES: WEST Coast AFL star Andrew Gaff was suspended earlier this week for a horrific incident on Sunday when he punched Fremantle youngster Andrew Brayshaw.

Gaff managed to break the rookie's jaw and displaced five teeth in the off-the-ball incident, and was subsequently handed an eight week suspension.

The ruling means his 2018 season is completely over and he'll likely miss weeks to start the 2019 AFL season.

It is the biggest tribunal case of the year, eclipsing the five-game suspension for GWS star Jeremy Cameron. But was it truly enough?

MOOSE ELKERTON: Gaff has endured a truly public punishment

ANDREW Gaff deserves to hang his head in shame.

His off the ball assault of Fremantle rookie Andrew Brayshaw was disturbing. The injuries the young wingman sustained were horrific.

But his punishment is most certainly fitting the crime.

Eight weeks is the biggest single incident charge handed down by the AFL tribunal in history, and to his credit Gaff has worn the penalty.

There has been no complaint from the West Coast Eagles star, and that is likely because the ignominy he has endured in the wake of the incident far outweighs any sentence the tribunal can give.

Gaff, the clean cut 145-game poster child of the AFL, has now become the game's biggest pariah. He has become the public enemy.

Worse than that he has become his own enemy.

Gaff knows what he did was wrong, you could read the remorse on his face only moments after the incident as he sat on the bench.

According to the West Coast star, what he did was an accident. A misjudgment. He meant to punch Brayshaw's chest but managed to break his jaw and dislodge four teeth.

It might have been an accident, but that doesn't absolve him of guilt, as the game cannot accept such an incident at any level.

He has been handed his penalty, but the consequences he will live with, will far exceed it.

Both footballers will not play again this season, but more importantly both of their lives will be changed forever.

JARRARD 'POTTSY' POTTER: Gaff lucky strike happened on field

AFTER last weekend's sickening incident which left Fremantle player Andrew Brayshaw's jaw broken and four teeth dislodged and West Coast's Andrew Gaff suspended for eight games, I can't help but wonder what sort of penalty would have been dished out if the incident hadn't happened in the middle of the Perth Stadium between two players but two fans outside the ground.

Gaff may have been charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in Western Australia.

I doubt that if Gaff was charged and faced a magistrate he would ever be sentenced to something so extreme, but I use that as an example of how lucky Gaff is to receive a penalty that will see him come back next year and start a new season, while Brayshaw will still probably be bearing the scars of the assault.

I personally don't think eight games is a long enough sentence, and perhaps codes like the AFL and the NRL could look to our judicial system to help improve their own.

I'd like to see a suspended sentence or a good behaviour bond system included in punishing players who intentionally strike opponents or are wilfully reckless in their tackles.

Give them a 20 or 30-game ban, suspended after eight, so that any further infringement for an extended period of time can see the harsh penalty resumed.

Docking players' pay to donate to charity or the injured player's rehab wouldn't go astray either.



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