WAFLW: Lou Knitter medallist Jasmin Stewart keeps door ajar for AFLW return after inspiring grand final outing
Claremont premiership star Jasmin Stewart hasn’t shut the door on an AFLW return next year after a commanding best-on-ground performance in the Tigers’ grand final triumph over East Fremantle.
The former Docker was awarded the Lou Knitter medal for a game-high 29 disposals, including 16 kicks, 13 handballs, eight tackles and three inside 50s.
Going head-to-head with Dhara Kerr Medallist Sharon Wong, Stewart gave the Tigers much-needed inside grunt in the absence of West Coast pre-draft signings Ella Smith and Sasha Goranova.
But despite deciding to step away from Fremantle and the AFLW at the end of last season, Stewart has left the door ajar for a top-tier return.
“I’d say I’ll be here (at Claremont) next year but I’d like the option to be there if I want to go back,” she said.
“I haven’t decided whether I will or not. At the moment I’m cruising through life and taking it as it comes.”
A Tiger since she was a teenager, Stewart has ridden the ups and downs of Claremont’s past.
Grand finalists for the first time in 21 years, Claremont not only overcame their lean history but an undefeated East Fremantle outfit who were widely tipped to complete the perfect season.
An emotional Stewart dedicated her best-on-ground medal to club great Charmaine Rogers, a West Australian Football Commission life member for her contribution to female football.
“I actually had visions of this (winning the grand final) all week and had to stop myself from thinking ahead,” she said.
“I just felt like I wanted to cry, but when the siren went, I grabbed my friends and I literally fell to the ground and got piled on.
“I’ve been at Claremont since I was 13-year-old so it felt like coming back home and I wanted to give absolutely everything I could.
“To think about where we have come from, the progression that the club has made is huge. Knowing how far we’ve come makes the win so much sweeter.
“It’s really hard to explain the feeling. I’m just so proud of everyone.”
Claremont’s reserves side also won the earlier grand final, giving the club belief the year of the Tiger could last a little longer.
“If we can come into next season with the same momentum, I think we could be unstoppable,” Stewart said.
“We have a really good pathway at Claremont and we’re really proud of everything that we’ve been able to achieve this year.
“Knowing where we’ve come from last year and the years before that, I had full belief that we would go all the way and we absolutely delivered.”
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