AFL fans' shameful response to Melbourne Demons' pre-game tribute to Angus Brayshaw

The Demons honoured their retired teammate before their clash with the Sydney Swans.

The situation surrounding Angus Brayshaw's forced retirement took a nasty new twist on Thursday night after AFL fans made disparaging remarks about the Melbourne Demons' pre-game tribute to him. The Demons kicked off the AFL season against the Swans at the SCG, playing without Brayshaw after he was forced to retire on the advice of doctors.

Brayshaw was concussed in a controversial incident with Brayden Maynard during last year's finals series, and announced last month that he was hanging up the boots after a brain scan found some worrying changes. The Demons paid tribute to their former teammate by hanging his trademark headgear on a wall in the tunnel heading from the dressing rooms to the field.

Melbourne Demons players, pictured here touching Angus Brayshaw's helmet before their AFL clash.
The Melbourne Demons players all touched Angus Brayshaw's helmet as they walked onto the AFL field. Image: Channel 7

As captain Max Gawn led his players out, every one of them touched the headgear in a nod to Brayshaw and the difficult situation. Hamish McLachlan said on Channel 7: “I love the Angus Brayshaw helmet piece, always looking for little things."

The majority of fans were also touched by the gesture, but some took the opportunity to troll Brayshaw and the Demons. Some of the comments on social media videos of the gesture were downright shameful, and show there is clearly still tension between Melbourne and Collingwood fans in regard to the Brayshaw-Maynard incident.

Angus Brayshaw 'numb' after sad retirement from AFL

Maynard jumped in an attempt to smother the ball, but missed and came down with his shoulder straight to Brayshaw's head. The Collingwood player was sent to the AFL tribunal, but escaped suspension due in large part to a technicality in the rules.


The AFL has since moved to clear up the grey area in the rules, and Maynard copped a raft of social media backlash when Brayshaw announced his retirement. Speaking earlier this week, Brayshaw's uncle James lifted the lid on he's doing since calling it quits.

"I think there was great shock around when he called into the club and they said you’re done," James Brayshaw said on 'Talking Footy' on Channel 7. "He’s 28 years old, 167 games, just signed a long-term deal, so in his own mind, he would’ve seen himself playing till he was 32, 33 - and happily because he genuinely loved the game of footy.

"He was one of those blokes who just had this glorious passion for playing football. To suddenly have that plug pulled out on you, age 28, I think he would be numb and shocked would be the way I describe him."

Angus Brayshaw in 2023.
Angus Brayshaw ws heavily concussed in the incident with Brayden Maynard.

Brodie Grundy takes down Max Gawn as Swans beat Demons

Meanwhile, the Demons are licking their wounds after going down to the Swans by 22 points. Brodie Grundy played a starring role and got the better of Gawn, after he joined Sydney from Melbourne in the off-season.

Grundy spent the majority of the 2023 season in the VFL after the Demons' two-pronged ruckman tactic didn't work out. But Grundy showed on Thursday night that he's still every bit a dominant force on his day.

Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn.
Brodie Grundy outpointed Max Gawn as the Sydney Swans beat the Melbourne Demons.

"His second half was huge. He just kept going and kept ploughing through," Swans coach John Longmire said of Grundy. "His second and third efforts and his work around the footy was enormous. I just feel really pleased for him. He's got that one out of the way and now he can settle into his season and get into it."

The Swans scored four consecutive goals at the start of the final term to seal a 12.14 (86) to 9.10 (64) victory in front of 40,012 fans at a sold-out SCG. Isaac Heeney stepped up in a Swans midfield missing injured guns Callum Mills, Luke Parker and Taylor Adams, notching 26 disposals, 18 contested possessions, one goal and a career-best 13 clearances.

with AAP

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