WEST Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff's Brownlow Medal hopes appear dashed and his season is in doubt over a brutal off-the-ball hit on Andrew Brayshaw.
The strike left the 18-year-old Docker lying on the grass with a bloodied mouth in the third quarter of Sunday's Western Derby at Optus Stadium.
He was taken to hospital with a 'fractured jaw and four displaced teeth', according to Dockers coach Ross Lyon.
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Gaff is likely to be sent straight to the Tribunal, facing a minimum of three weeks on the sidelines.
Melbourne's Tom Bugg was suspended for six games for a strike that knocked out Sydney's Callum Mills in round 15 last year. If Gaff receives the same penalty, his season could be over.
Speaking to Fox Footy post-match, Gaff was remorseful and prepared to cop his penalty.
"I just want to apologise to Andy. I feel sick. I did the wrong thing and it doesn't indicate my character and my main thought is how he is," Gaff said.
"What happened, happened, but my only thought is how Andy is and what will happen (to me) will happen."
Gaff has never previously been found guilty of any charge in his 174-game career.
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The Eagle was walking alongside his opponent, more than 20m off the ball, when he launched a roundhouse punch that connected with the underside of Brayshaw's jaw.
Brayshaw was escorted from the ground by trainers and appeared hesitant to remove his mouthguard, with fears his teeth might've been knocked out.
Tensions boiled over thereafter, with several scraps and hits off the ball that will surely come under scrutiny from Match Review Officer Michael Christian.
Coach Adam Simpson came to the bench during the third term to speak to a distraught Gaff.
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"He's a bit disappointed, but he'll work through it and we'll see what happens after the game," Simpson told Fox Footy at three-quarter time.
Early in the fourth term veteran Docker Michael Johnson collided with Gaff in a bump that left the Eagle dazed and taken from the field, before he returned later in the term.