Footy fans have slammed the decision to provide an AFL player with a security escort as he arrives at the airport after punching an opposing player in the face so hard he broke his jaw.

Fremantle Dockers young gun Andrew Brayshaw, 18, spent Sunday night in hospital after he was punched by West Coast Eagles star Andrew Gaff, 26, in an ugly off-the-ball incident during the western derby at Optus Stadium in Perth.

Gaff was quickly escorted away from a media scrum by Tullamarine Airport staff as he arrived in Melbourne ahead of his AFL tribunal hearing on Tuesday night.

He is expected to argue the contact to Brayshaw's face was unintentional, after telling his coach he tried to strike the youngster's chest, but instead connected flush with his jaw.

Dockers champion Mathew Pavlich posted a cryptic tweet on Tuesday after Eagles boss Trevor Nisbett claimed Gaff and Brayshaw played golf together five days before the match.

'If you're going to be critical of getting the facts right, you'd want to be sure that yours are accurate also. Particularly if they've never actually met,' Pavlich wrote alongside a golf emoji.

The latest twist in the saga came as Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson confirmed 'an assessment' would be made and flagged the possibility of pressing criminal charges.

'It is rare for police to lay criminal charges as a result of an incident in a professional competitive sporting event. Physical contact on the footy field is expected,' Commissioner Dawson told Perth Now.

'The central issue here is what should be governed by the sporting code and what falls within the criminal realm... We will make an assessment on this incident as we would with other matters of public interest.'

'Hand on heart and speaking to him post game, he legitimately said to me he didn't mean to hit him in the head,' Eagles coach Adam Simpson told Channel Seven.

Nisbett said Gaff was 'beside himself with what happened'.

'I think people saw the remorse he has under this situation, but it doesn't go to exonerate him from the action,' the Eagles CEO said.

'He has to take responsibly - which he's taking - but he's taking it pretty tough.'

Gaff will almost certainly be suspended for the remainder of the season, perhaps even into the early part of next year, while Brayshaw's season is over.

The teenager underwent surgery on Sunday night and will be eating through a straw for the next four weeks.

'I'd just like to thank everyone so much for their ongoing support over the last 24 hours,' Brayshaw posted on Instagram.

'I truly appreciate each and every message that I've received and it's helping keep a smile on my dial.'

Prominent lawyer and Fremantle Dockers foundation member Tom Percy called for a criminal investigation against Gaff.

'He doesn't deserve to play AFL again. Ever. (There is) a prima facie case for a police investigation. I've had people go to jail for less,' Mr Percy wrote on Facebook.

'Why would a football score be more important than the health and wellbeing of an innocent young man who is in hospital as a result of a cowardly assault he didn't provoke.'

Brayshaw spent an extended period lying on the ground and had to be assisted from the field by trainers as his mother watched on in horror from the stands.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon didn't hide his anger in the post-match press conference.

'Andrew Brayshaw was king hit 100m off the ball,' he said.

'I have got an 18-year-old kid that I saw in a real mess when I came down to the rooms, and his mum in tears as I was walking in. So it's not very palatable. It is very distressing.

'My senior players certainly wanted retribution and I had to stay out on the ground longer at three-quarter time to settle a couple down and say: ''Don't bring yourself into disrepute''.'

Lyon compared the incident to former Sydney Swans star Barry Hall's infamous hit on West Coast's Brent Staker in 2008.

'I'm just putting the facts forward. Andrew is unlikely to play again this year. There is certainly a precedent set. I think Barry Hall got seven (weeks),' Lyon said.

Port Adelaide legend Warren Treadrea agreed.

'If Barry Hall got 7 weeks for belting Brent Staker in 2008 - Andrew Gaff's king hit on a first year player - breaking his jaw in two places and dislodging four teeth 10 years later is worth more,' he tweeted.

An emotional and remorseful Gaff apologised for his actions after the spiteful match.

A suspension will rule him out of the prestigious Brownlow Medal, for which he was considered a serious contender.

Gaff has never been suspended or fined in 175 AFL games.

'I feel sick about it. I did the wrong thing and I'd like to think it doesn't indicate my character. My main thought is how he is,' he told Fox Footy.