Woods and Gray star at champs

Cameron Newbold ALBANY ADVERTISERAlbany Advertiser
Woods and Gray star at champs
Camera IconWoods and Gray star at champs Credit: Albany Advertiser

Brilliant individual performances from forward Jayden Woods and defender Ben Gray helped the Great Southern Football League reach the division 2 grand final at the annual Landmark Country Football Championships in Perth.

Woods, who played 28 WAFL league games for Claremont and South Fremantle, was simply sensational across the championships, playing as a dangerous small forward and spending time in the midfield.

Gray's performances in the back half were equally as important, with the dashing defender rarely beaten in any of the GSFL matches while his creativity and ability to break lines and move the ball forward were outstanding.

The GSFL pair were duly rewarded for their fantastic respective championships when named in the Landmark Country All Stars side.

Woods won the Jock Beattie Trophy for the best and fairest player in division 3 in the GSFL's triumphant campaign and the livewire backed up that performance by winning the equivalent in division 2 this year.

The 25-year-old was awarded the Bud Byfield Trophy for the fairest and best player in division 2 after booting 10 goals in five games, which included a six-goal haul against Mortlock Football League.

Woods was everywhere in the opening round robin match against Mortlock at HFB Arena, kicking two in the first 20-minute half and then adding another four in the second half to finish with 6.2 in a best-afield display.

The GSFL dominated from start to finish and went on to record a 59-point win with Luke Cameron and co-captains Ryan Kinnear and Bodhi Stubber joining Woods in the best players.

In their second game on the day at the same venue, the GSFL kicked the first four goals but led by only three points after three goals to Central Midlands Coastal Football League star Brent LeCras.

Despite being challenged in the second half, the GSFL - led by Graham Ross, Joel Coyne, Gray and Woods - prevailed by 17 points.

Day two started with the GSFL meeting Lower South West Football League at ATOM Stadium and despite their opponents hitting the front, the GSFL responded with the last three goals of the game through Matt Van Schayk, Marcus Trevenen and then Zane Marwick to win by 14 points.

In their final round robin fixture against Eastern Districts, also at ATOM Stadium, the GSFL trailed by three points at half-time but kicked three goals to prevail by three points.

Geoff Wynne, Trevenen, Gray and Ross were all influential in their fourth-straight win to secure a grand final berth.

Across the championships, Gray was the standout defender in all of the division 2 matches and his ability to spoil from behind and win crucial one-on-one contests were both evident.

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