Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 3:57 PM

KATANNING football star Kade Stewart remains hopeful there will be a WAFL season this year.

Stewart was delisted by Hawthorn at the end of the 2017 season and moved back to his home town in 2018 where he rekindled his passion for football and went on to win the Leo Graham Medal as the best player in the Upper Great Southern Football League.

He returned to South Fremantle last year playing 22 games, averaging 16.5 touches, 6.5 tackles a game and booted 24 goals but his Bulldogs lost the grand final to Subiaco by a whopping 96 points. 

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, Stewart has moved back home to Katanning to help out with his father’s electrical business and said it was a strange time for football. 

“It’s going to be a complete different season for the footy this year, whether it goes ahead at all or we have a gap year,” he said.

“We have been given programs to do by the club, which are updated weekly to the group, and we carry them out every second day.

“I’m trying to do more of the running side of program as that will be the biggest hurdle to come up to when footy returns.

“I’m still holding on hope that there’s a footy season this year but realistically it feels like things are sliding away slowly. 

“If a season does go ahead then the information we have been given is a nine-round season plus finals.

“Especially after last season making it to a grand final and the club having a good year, all the boys were excited to finally finish the pre-season ... and get stuck back into it and go one step further this year.”

The 23-year-old said the global health crisis was hitting clubs hard.

“No doubt it’s been a really stressful period for all clubs and employment in this pandemic,” he said.

“As you can see it’s a domino effect from AFL to WAFL and now country footy.

“It is a position a lot of people have never felt or been in before.”

Stewart said he still had the passion to play WAFL footy and try and help the Bulldogs win a premiership.

“I couldn’t tell you, to be honest, what effect this will have on my career but most likely I’ll be around for another year or two in the WAFL,” he said.

“Besides from that, let’s keep our hopes up and stay positive that this terrible time will end soon and we as a footy industry and just everyday lifestyle can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Huge thank you to Taj Stubber for this brilliant write up in the Great Southern Herald!