Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw insists he has moved on from the brutal western derby strike from West Coast’s Andrew Gaff and doesn’t expect any long-term effects on his fledgling football career.
Brayshaw was left with a broken jaw and serious damage to five of his teeth after the hit from Gaff in the round 20 clash at Optus Stadium.
But the 18-year-old returned for the Dockers’ first day of pre-season training today in good spirts.
Brayshaw is still unsure whether his five teeth will survive and will need ongoing dental treatment, but is otherwise confident his progress has not been impacted.
He lost only about half a kilo while he was restricted to a liquid diet.
“Honestly, the last month or so I haven’t really thought much about it,” Brayshaw said. “It was pretty tough the first couple of weeks leading into the off-season, I had surgery and what not but since then I’ve been on the road to recovery and right now I’m feeling 100 per cent.
“I’ve got a meeting with my dentist in December and we sort of just have to keep testing those (five teeth) and at the moment they are not really responsive but they look all right. I can still smile and stuff like that so it’s fine now.
“They are still in there and they are in the right spot, it’s just whether the nerves hold on.”
Brayshaw said he and Gaff ended up playing a round of golf, but only after the ugly incident.
“My brother Hamish organised a little meetup when I was back in WA so we actually played a round of golf,” Brayshaw said. “I know there was speculation we’d played one before, which we hadn’t, but we eventually did.
“I just got to know him as a bloke a bit more and it was good to play that game.
“No bad blood, we are both happy with how we’re both trying to move on and looking forward to 2019.”
Brayshaw admitted the round four western derby next year would be a big game, but hoped the Fremantle fans wouldn’t boo Gaff.
“The two derbies I’ve played in, they’ve always been pretty heated and I don’t think this next one is going to be any different,” he said. “It will be full on and the fans will be right into it but we’re just going to be there to play footy and hopefully get a win.
“Media and all that will talk about it as a big match up but he’s a good player and I’ve got to treat him like that so if I do match up on him I’ll definitely be trying to do my best effort on him.
“I think the Dockers fans will be right behind me and the West Coast fans will be passionate for Andrew Gaff as well. It will be a great game when it comes and hopefully we just get the win.
“I wouldn’t say boo West Coast players or Andrew Gaff, I’d say just cheer us on louder because I think that’s what West Coast will be doing.”
Brayshaw said he was disappointed key mentor Lachie Neale, who housed in his first year at the club, had left for Brisbane but understood why.
“We had a bit of a chat,” Brayshaw said. “He’s got his own reasons for why he is going to Brisbane and we talked through it and even though I was pretty devastated he was going I sort of understood why he was. I think that’s best for him and his family.
“I wish him all the best.”