Tributes flow after shock death of country football and Great Southern legend Jonathon ‘Jono’ Woods

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Tributes are flowing after the shock death of country football icon and Great Southern legend Jono Woods.
Camera IconTributes are flowing after the shock death of country football icon and Great Southern legend Jono Woods. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Great Southern community is mourning the sudden death of country football great Jonathon “Jono” Woods this week.

Tributes are flowing for the much-loved and respected Great Southern star after he died on Tuesday.

Woods is arguably the most decorated player in Great Southern history, having played more than 600 games at four different clubs, and won two Kleemann medals.

Great Southern Football League chairman Terry Eaton said Mr Woods had made a lasting impression on country football.

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“Jono’s contribution to the game and legacy is immense,” Mr Eaton said.

GSFL legend Jono Woods is hoisted onto his teammates' shoulders after watching Denmark-Walpole secure the premiership. The 44-year-old is undecided as to whether he will play on next year.
Camera IconGSFL star Jono Woods is hoisted on to his teammates' shoulders after Denmark-Walpole’s breakthrough 2010 premiership. Credit: Laurie Benson

“Not many people are life members at two clubs, Denmark-Walpole and North Albany, which is for both his playing contribution and off-field as well.

“He was an outstanding leader for his people and got a lot of young guys playing footy.

“His loss will be felt immensely across the whole league... It is a very sad time for footy.

Jono was such a loveable guy on and off the field, and he always had a smile on his face

Terry Eaton

Woods represented the GSFL multiple times at country championships and won a league premiership with North Albany in 2005.

In 2003, he won the A-section fairest and best award at the county football championships.

Woods won the Kleemann Medal, awarded to the fairest and best league player in the GSFL, in 1995 with the Kangas and then again in 2003 when he shared the honour with teammate Brett Hall.

In recent years, he returned for a second stint at Denmark-Walpole Football Club, running out in games alongside his sons Henry and Robert.

He played both league and reserves for the Magpies and won the Charlie Punch Medal as the GSFL’s best and fairest reserves player twice, in 2011 and 2013.

Woods also played at the now-defunct South Mt Barker and Albany in the GSFL and played a game with Boddington in 2021 and six with Gnowangerup in 2018.

North Albany Football Club paid tribute to Woods on social media.

“Vale Jono Woods,” the post read.

“NAFC life member, four-time F&B winner, member of the NAFC Indigenous Team of the Century, Kleemann medallist and club legend.

Great Southern Football League Kleemann Medal. Rick Inman, Jono Woods and Barry Roberts.
Camera IconJono Woods, middle, with Ricky Inman and Barry Roberts at the 2022 Kleemann Medal count. Credit: Laurie Benson/RegionalHUB
Jono Woods won four best and fairest awards with North Albany.
Camera IconJono Woods won four best and fairest awards with North Albany. Credit: North Albany Football Club

“Jono was much loved and respected by all . . . country football has lost an absolute legend and hero to so many.

“His impact at Kangas and the broader football community cannot be overstated.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to Rachael, her family and Jono’s many friends.”

Denmark-Walpole Football Club also shared images of Woods on Facebook with the words “Vale Jonathan ‘Jono’ Woods… a true king among men”.

As a 55-year-old, Woods played at the AFL Masters National Carnival in Perth in 2021, where he won the fairest and best award in the 55s competition along with All-Australian honours and helped his WA side claim national glory.

Woods was a great mentor for young Indigenous players in the Great Southern, and he played an important part in forming an Indigenous round in the GSFL when clubs wear specially designed jumpers.

Albany Vikings players Brett Hall and Jono Woods both won their age group fairest and best awards and were named All-Australians at the national masters carnival. 
Picture: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser
Camera IconBrett Hall and Jono Woods were joint winners of the 2003 Kleemann Medal. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

In 2023, Woods played mainly for Forrestfield in the Perth Football League and managed one game for the Magpies against his old side Kangas.

A Jono Woods Tribute Match has been played in years gone by between the Magpies and Kangas at the league level to recognise his wonderful contribution to both clubs.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

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