Sitting at his WA home wrapped in colours belonging to both the Dockers and the Dees, cricket great and proud grandfather of newly crowned All Australian Andy Brayshaw can’t wipe the smile from his face.
Ian Brayshaw said he was over the moon to see the Fremantle young gun take out a spot in the 22-man AFL squad — reserved for only the most elite footballers.
Andy edged ahead of his older brother and Melbourne Demons player Angus, who was controversially left out of the team coming off the back of a premiership win with Melbourne.
Mr Brayshaw, an 80-year-old Albany resident, told the ABC he believed Angus was “robbed”.
“He’s had a terrific season and he’s morphed into a very, very clever defender,” Ian said.
Ian and his wife Joan said they had butterflies while watching the awards on the television on Wednesday night.
“It was a really very exciting time, we’re terribly proud of both of them,” he said.
Andy made the interchange bench, despite taking home the AFL Players Leigh Matthews Most Valuable Player (MVP) Trophy.
His peers voted him the best player in the game, with an average of 29 disposals.
His coach Justin Longmuir sang his praises, taking to social media to tell people: “You reap what you sow.”
Andy is the youngest footballer in almost two decades to win the MVP award.
He was also named captain of the fan-voted 22under22 team, created by the AFL Players’ Association.
It puts the 22-year-old in good stead for the upcoming Brownlow Medal count.
Ian said he didn’t think Andy would win the Brownlow due to being heavily tagged in the second half of the season, but believed he’d come close.
Joan said she wanted Andy to rub oil on his skin to slip away from the taggers.
The Albany grandfather said Andy was always humble and never failed to answer a text message.
“He’s a great family man. I think he’s driven by being the youngest to prove himself in a pretty tough field with three other brothers,” he said.
Joan said Andy wasn’t just a great athlete, but also an academic.
“He got the vice chancellor award from Curtin University for being in the top one per cent of students,” she said.
She also said Andy had a soft spot for the Great Southern.
“If you ask Andrew what his favourite city in Western Australia is, he says Albany, his girlfriend told me that,” Joan said.
Both Melbourne and Fremantle will play finals this year, but Ian said his heart was torn between the two teams.
He said whenever the boys played against each other, he and Joan flipped a coin to see who would be barracking for the Dees and the Dockers.
“We watch all their games and Joan has to wear one colour and I wear the other, he said.
“If dreams come true they’ll meet each other in the grand final.”
Following last year’s premiership, Joan said Andy told her he was not jealous of his brother’s success, but inspired by what the Demons had done.
He expressed a desire to do the exact same at Fremantle.
The couple said they just hoped nobody got injured — and reflected back to 2018 when Andy’s jaw was broken by West Coast’s Andrew Gaff.
They said it was a difficult time but they were proud of their grandson’s resilience.
The Brayshaw family tree is full of sporting superstars.
Ian played cricket for Western Australia, and for Claremont in the WAFL.
His son Mark played for the Kangaroos and his other son James was a cricketer.
Ian’s grandson Hamish, who is a brother to Andy and Angus, was also a former West Coast Eagle. He has since taken up a coaching role with the women’s team.
While the three brothers chose footy, a fourth, Will, chose to serve Australia in the defence force. His grandfather said Will was also a talented footballer.
Despite his own sporting success, Ian said he was beyond proud of all of his grandsons.
“I had some happy moments as an athlete and the next dimension is your sons achieving,” he said.
“And the greatest of all, to me, is your grandsons, much greater than my own achievements.”
Source: AFL NEWS ABC