The immediate aftermath of an eight-game suspension is not the moment to decide your future at a club.
Andrew Gaff has time on his hands now to decide where he wants to play his next game of football – at West Coast or back in Victoria – for he won’t play for the rest of the year.
Andrew Gaff after last weekend’s derby.
He is out of contract at the end of the season – which for him is now – and his manager Paul Connors has fielded interest and offers from most of the Victorian clubs.
The offers are typically for long-term deals – five to six years – and for significant amounts approaching seven figures.
These were offers that were on the table before the suspension and remain on the table after the suspension. His eight-game ban has not altered clubs’ interest in him.
It is too early to tell if the suspension alters Gaff’s thinking about saying in Perth or coming home.
“I have no idea if it does or not, " Connors said.
“It is not something I've brought up with him. I don't know when it is something we discuss. We have time on our hands. I’ll let the dust settle, and if he wants to bring it up with me, he will."
He added on SEN radio: “Just let him spend some time with his family and come to grips with what he faces over the next couple of months.”
Money will not be a significant factor in the decision as West Coast’s financial offer and the length of the term is understood to be attractive.
Does Gaff now feel a debt to West Coast for missing the remainder of the year and finals at a time when they are in second place but their most important forward, Josh Kennedy, is managing a stress injury and they are already without Nic Naitanui?
Or is fishbowl Perth the place he is not best-placed to be after such a brutal incident involving his team's cross-town rivals?
There is time enough now for those conversations to be had.
A club in the market knows it will be without Gaff for early season games but would be untroubled by his suspension for, as has been pointed out at length this week, he has never been suspended in AFL or even junior football before.
North Melbourne are in the market for Gaff but so too Melbourne, where coincidentally Angus Brayshaw, brother of Andrew, plays.
Angus expressed his shock and alarm at the hit on his brother this week but it is doubtful the suspension would influence Melbourne’s interest in Gaff. Besides, another brother, Hamish, plays with Gaff at West Coast and the pair are said to be friends.
Furthermore the Brayshaw boys’ dad, Mark, reflected an attitude of compassion and concern in the family for Gaff in the aftermath of the hit and the suspension knowing that the punch was out of character for the player they knew.
Gaff fits Melbourne’s needs for outside run and speed to complement the midfield of Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones and Angus Brayshaw, which is very good at winning the ball inside the contest.
Of course Gaff would complement the midfields of each of the other clubs interested in him – North Melbourne, St Kilda, Essendon and Hawthorn.
No punch or suspension will change that.
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