Shannon Byrnes attended Wanganui Park High School from 1996 through until 2001 after spending all of his Primary School years at Gowrie St Primary School. Shannon achieved solid results in his academic classes throughout his time at Wanganui but from the moment he started at the school his first love was sport and more sport.
Shannon represented the school in athletics, swimming, basketball, cricket, tennis but his passion was always football. Every recess and lunchtime was spent on the school oval refining skills in whatever sport was being played at the time, but that sport was generally football.
By 1997 Wanganui were starting to become a force for the first time in their history in the local Shepparton District Junior competition and Shannon was starting to attract the attention of local elite squad selectors, particularly due to his pace and elite left foot kicking skills.
Shannon was selected in his first major representative football team, the Goulburn Murray Schoolboys, when he had just turned 14 years old. From that time Shannon never missed a representative team in his junior years and played in five junior premierships including three with Wanganui Park Secondary College, including the school's first ever premiership in the local competition. Throughout this time he represented Victoria Country at two national carnivals in Tasmania and Melbourne.
Shannon moved from school football into the Murray Bushrangers team, spending three seasons at the Bushrangers, the last as a co-captain under senior coach Xavier Tanner.
Shannon stayed on at Wanganui after completing his VCE taking up a 12 month sports traineeship which allowed him to continue his career at the Bushrangers and pursue his passion and dream of playing football in the AFL.
At the end of 2002, Shannon's hard work, commitment and passion for football was rewarded when the Geelong Cats selected him with their third rookie pick and added his name to their list for the 2003 season.
Shannon achieved his lifelong ambition of playing AFL football debuting for the Cats in July 2004 against the Sydney Swans, kicking an important goal in the last quarter that helped the Cats across the line.
During his 10 seasons at Geelong Shannon played 108 games, where he won daytime premierships in 2007 and 2009. He was a premiership player in the 2006 and 2009 Geelong pre-season premierships and also played in Geelong's VFL premiership in 2012.
Shannon became an integral part of the Cats decade of strength in the AFL, playing alongside future AFL Hall of Famers, Ablett, Scarlett, Bartel and Johnson.
Shannon is a life member of the Geelong Football Club, a Rising Star nominee in 2005 and winner of the Tom Harley award, as voted by his peers for best clubman at the Cats in his last year at Geelong.
In 2013 Shannon moved to the Melbourne Football Club and played a further 23 games, until a foot injury forced his retirement towards the end of the 2014 season after 12 seasons in the AFL system. Shannon finished his playing career with 131 AFL games and 117 goals. Shannon remains at the club to this day where he is working as the club development and welfare coach.
Shannon was thrilled recently when the AFL Goulburn Murray decided that the best player in the Grand Final of the regional Herald Sun Shield competition would receive the Shannon Byrnes medal.