Opinion: Andrew Gaff’s derby punch on Brayshaw needs to be punished

Andrew Brayshaw from the Fremantle Dockers after being punched by Andrew Gaff in the Eagles' derby win on Sunday, August 5. Picture: Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images.
Andrew Brayshaw from the Fremantle Dockers after being punched by Andrew Gaff in the Eagles' derby win on Sunday, August 5. Picture: Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images.

Sitting watching the Derby on Sunday with two young sons in the room, I didn’t watch the Gaff hit through the eyes of a West Coast fan.

I watched it as a mum. One of my sons is about to play his 50th junior game of Aussie rules footy.

And I couldn’t help thinking – this isn’t good enough.

If someone finished my son’s season with a broken jaw and teeth I’d be devastated.

Andrew Brayshaw was forced to have surgery last night, will miss the rest of the season, and cannot eat solids for four weeks.

Enough violence happens in our homes and in our pubs without it happening on prime time TV with thousands of fans watching.

We’re trying to teach our boys how to be good men.

We’re trying to bring them up to hesitate when they might want to react like Gaff.

It’s easy to suggest Gaff is a good man who had a brain snap when he punched Andy Brayshaw.

But he’s lucky that brain snap happened on the footy field.

As a reporter who has spent plenty of time sitting in local courts, I’ve seen people given suspended prison sentences for less.

Gaff needs to receive the maximum punishment for what he did because we need to say that society is done with violence.

We need our sons to know that if one person breaks another’s jaw, they won’t be forgiven in a hurry simply because they’re a good footballer or a good guy.