Andrew Gaff has implored West Coast fans not to assume he’s leaving the club despite delaying his decision until after this weekend’s grand final, insisting he is still yet to make up his mind about his playing future.
It comes as the star midfielder opened up about the pain of missing Saturday’s decider, saying sitting out the clash would be “really tough”.
Gaff said he could make a call on his future as early as next week as the soon-to-be restricted free agent weighs up a monster deal from North Melbourne reportedly worth up to $400,000 per year more than what West Coast can offer.
The 26-year-old insisted the fact he had left the announcement on his next deal until season’s end was not necessarily bad news for West Coast.
“There’s nothing in that. I honestly haven’t made my decision. I can honestly say that,” Gaff told 94.5.
“It’s very tough. There’s a lot of things you’ve got to weigh up for making this hopefully long-term decision.
“It’s a bit to think about and something that’s going to play out in the next hopefully week or so.”
Gaff was among West Coast’s best in their 2015 grand final appearance, racking up a team-high 34 disposals in the 46-point defeat to Hawthorn.
He said missing out on a chance at redemption while his teammates take to the MCG was a difficult experience.
“It’s really tough, no doubt,” Gaff said.
“I played in 2015, and while it was a great experience, we didn’t get the result we all wanted to.
“You pride yourself on making the most of the opportunity next time you come around.
“I won’t be out there, but I’ve got no one else to blame but myself.
‘It’s still really tough. Seeing the boys all excited for leaving today is hard, but there’s a few other boys – Eric Mackenzie, we know how good he was in the finals series last year, Brad Sheppard, we all know how good he’s been for several years, and obviously Nic, who’s going to be doing the ruck coaching on the bench.”
Gaff said he had revelled in being able to help out at training ahead of Saturday’s decider, revealing he had acted as an opponent for tagger Mark Hutchings to tail in match simulation.
Hutchings is likely to get the job on Magpies wingman Steele Sidebottom, who capped a fine season by finishing second in Monday night’s Brownlow Medal count.
“Training has been a good distraction for me, unlike Nic and Shepp, who haven’t been able to get out there,” Gaff said.
“I’ve been able to get out there and keep my mind occupied for a couple of hours.
“Hutch has been playing on me a bit, in preparation for each weekend. I haven’t been getting too many kicks.
“Hopefully that’s a good omen for the weekend.”