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Gaff off to Tribunal, Docker escapes ban

Why Gaff was sent to Tribunal Matt Thompson and Michael Christian wrap up the round 20 Match Review findings

WEST Coast star Andrew Gaff will learn his fate on Tuesday night after his crude punch on Fremantle youngster Andrew Brayshaw was referred directly to the AFL Tribunal.

Match Review Officer Michael Christian unsurprisingly graded the off-the-ball strike as intentional conduct with severe impact to the head, leading to the Tribunal hearing.

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Gaff's brutal left hook on Brayshaw left the Fremantle youngster with a broken jaw and four displaced teeth, with the club confirming he will miss the remainder of the season.

In a statement released on Monday, the Dockers also revealed that the 18-year-old will not be able to eat solid foods for a month as a result of the punch.

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Speaking after reaching his decision on Gaff, Christian said it was up there with the crudest incident he has had to adjudicate on this season.

"Jeremy Cameron was graded similarly with his hit on Harris Andrews," Christian said. "Certainly, it's the highest grading that you can get – intentional, severe and high."

Gaff's strike is likely to have huge ramifications on West Coast's finals chances, with the Tribunal likely to consider similar strikes such as Tom Bugg's on Callum Mills when making its decision on how many matches the Eagles midfielder will miss through suspension.

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Bugg was suspended for six games for his punch that concussed Mills in 2017, with a similar ban almost certain to mean Gaff will miss West Coast's entire finals series.

West Coast plays Port Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane to finish the home and away season.

Elsewhere, Fremantle veteran Michael Johnson was handed a $2000 for attempting to seek retribution on Gaff later in the game.

Johnson caught Gaff high and late after the Eagle had disposed of the footy, with Christian assessing the incident as careless conduct with low impact to the head.

Christian said the earlier incident with Gaff didn't change the manner in which Johnson's bump was perceived during the Match Review process.

"The incidents coming out of the melee were assessed individually, as was the Michael Johnson incident with Andrew Gaff," Christian said.

Dockers Hayden Ballantyne, Sean Darcy and Liam Ryan and Eagles Liam Ryan, Daniel Venables and Jeremy McGovern were all fined for their involvement in a melee.

Essendon youngster Aaron Francis was also handed a $2000 fine for his bump on Jaeger O'Meara, with the incident classified as careless conduct with low impact to the head.

 

St Kilda's Jack Newnes had no case to answer for a tackle that concussed Western Bulldogs defender Roarke Smith, while Brisbane's Stefan Martin was also cleared following an awkward tangle with North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein at a boundary throw-in.

There were a total of 15 players fined across the weekend:

- Cale Hooker fined $2000 for striking
- Dyson Heppell fined $1000 for umpire contact
- Aaron Francis fined $2000 for rough conduct
- Ben Cunnington fined $2000 for striking
- Jacob Hopper fined $2500 for umpire contact
- Christian Petracca fined $1000 for umpire contact
- Alex Sexton fined $2000 for rough conduct
- Hayden Ballantyne fined $1500 for instigating a melee
- Liam Ryan fined $1500 for instigating a melee
- Daniel Venables fined $1000 for involvement in a melee
- Jeremy McGovern fined $1000 for involvement in a melee
- Sean Darcy fined $1000 for involvement in a melee
- Luke Ryan fined $1000 for involvement in a melee
- Michael Johnson fined $2000 for rough conduct
- Brandan Parfitt has accepted a $2000 fine for rough conduct