West Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff admits he has only got himself to blame for missing out on Saturday’s grand final against Collingwood because of suspension.
Gaff’s dreams of winning a flag with the Eagles were extinguished after he received an eight-match suspension for punching Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw in last month’s Western Derby in Perth.
The ban was a bitter blow for Gaff, who played in West Coast’s losing 2015 grand final side.
Although Nic Naitanui (knee), Eric Mackenzie (foot) and Brad Sheppard (hamstring) will also miss the grand final at the MCG, Gaff will find it harder to swallow given his absence is self inflicted.
“It’s really tough,” Gaff told Perth radio station 94.5.
“I played in 2015, and whilst it was a great experience we didn’t have the result we wanted to.
“You pride yourself on making the most of the opportunity next time it comes around and I won’t be out there.
Gaff has been training with the Eagles in recent weeks, helping out the team’s midfield group.
He has been working with tagger Mark Hutchings, who is expected to pick up star Magpies midfielder Steele Sidebottom in the grand final.
“Hutch has been playing on me [in] a bit of preparation for each weekend,” Gaff said.
“I haven’t been getting too many kicks, I can tell you that. I hope that’s a good omen.”
Gaff’s Eagles future up in the air
Gaff may never play for the Eagles again, as the restricted free agent has been linked to a move back to his native Victoria.
The 26-year-old, who has played 175 senior matches for the Eagles, is being heavily pursued by North Melbourne, while St Kilda, Melbourne and Essendon are also reportedly in the hunt.
But Gaff maintains he is yet to decide on his playing future.
“I honestly haven’t made my decision,” he said.
“This week there’s just too much going on. But once the season finishes, I’ll definitely be making my decision pretty quickly.”
Family reasons may see Gaff return to Victoria, as his father Paul underwent major heart surgery in August and only got released from hospital on Wednesday.
“It’s good to see him back in the real world and getting some fresh air and getting fit again,” Gaff said.
“He’s got a fair way to go in terms of getting leg strength back and putting on more weight. But it’s exciting seeing him take that step and hopefully he’s on the improve.”