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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Lacy’s Learnings: Andrew Gaff hit ‘not the worst thing I saw that day’

I am still shocked by what happened in last Sunday’s western derby.
But Andrew Gaff’s strike on Andrew Brayshaw was not the worst thing I saw that day and in the days that followed.
I got home from the game Sunday night still reeling from what we had witnessed.
Then I scrolled through social media and immediately felt sick and disgusted.
The vitriol being pedalled by so-called football fans was nothing short of revolting.
Brayshaw was somehow to blame for his jaw being broken, amongst other hateful things being said.
I have always viewed the rivalry between West Coast and Fremantle as great. It was my view that the real feelings of dislike added to the spectacle and the build-up. But the past week has changed my mind.
And even though Gaff’s action started it all this time, I don’t believe the players are the problem.
It is time for supporters to pull their heads in and it is time for the clubs to find some common ground and work together, rather than snipe at one another.
That doesn’t mean there can’t be a great rivalry – just look at the Showdowns of recent years.
There should be bets between colleagues and playful teasing, not the disgraceful abuse I have witnessed in the past week.
As for Gaff, he made a terrible error. He has already and will continue to pay for it.
That moment on Sunday he can’t take back, but his actions since have shown nothing but his genuine remorse.
Having dealt with Gaff over a number of years, I know him to be a class act.
I have also been lucky enough to chat to Andrew Brayshaw on a number of occasions in his debut season.
He is as impressive an 18-year-old as you’d find. Should his career continue as we expect, it’s hard to imagine he won’t one day captain Fremantle.
It saddens me that these two young men will always be marked by this moment on the football field.
It’s true that there are no winners out of this. But those cowards who chose to say hateful things on social media are the true villains in a forgettable week.