Seven swiped after ‘laughable’ trainwreck
WEST Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson has denied Andrew Gaff's disgraceful king hit is a reflection of the club's culture in a car crash interview with Channel 7's Basil Zempilas.
Gaff sparked a firestorm of controversy after knocking Fremantle young gun Andrew Brayshaw clean in the jaw during last Sunday's derby, sending the 18-year-old to hospital and out of the game for the rest of the season.
"I don't know why (he did it), I think it was grossly out of character and something that Andrew is very disappointed in," Simpson said on Monday night's broadcast.
"There's been a lot of speculation, innuendo and a bit of trial by media but we need to own it and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Zempilas came under fire from viewers for his "laughable" conduct during the tense interview. Former Collingwood and Carlton star Michael McGuane claimed the AFL commentator was sensationalising the situation as he tried to back Simpson into an awkward corner on live television.
Zempilas asked if the club had an "arrogance issue" in the wake of the Gaff strike and an earlier incident where he club staffer had manhandled a cameraman that was attempting to capture vision of injured ruckman Nic Naitanui.
"I don't know what that's got to do with Andrew Gaff getting reported to the tribunal," an icy Simpson retorted.
Zempilas doubled down and asked if players were able to "do what they want to do" at the Eagles, sparking another curt reply from the 42-year-old.
"I think you're getting caught up in the media storm, mate, so I think we'll leave it at that," he said.
Gaff flew to Melbourne this morning to appear before the AFL's tribunal. He is expected to receive a massive ban after his offence was placed in the league's highest category.
He had been widely regarded as one of the competition'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.
"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.
- with AAP