SA Country Championships – Profiling Shaun ‘Ribbo’ Ribbons

It the first of a series on country championships leaders for the Barossa Valley event in July, contributor Peter Argent chats to Central Zone women’s coach for 2023 Shaun Ribbons, about the event, his connection to the Country Champs and his family’s footy connection.  


The inaugural senior coach of the Central District women’s program in the SANFL back in 2019, Shaun Ribbons was the Central Zone coach at Whyalla last year after stepping away from the Bulldogs’ gig to put more time into his own remedial massage business.

Ribbons, after an undefeated record at the 2022 event, will want to keep that run going in 2023.

He still keeps his hand in the coaching caper, being the senior coach of Nuriootpa Tigers in their initial season in the senior grade of the BLG Women’s competition. Ribbons engineered the Tigers’ breakthrough first win over South Gawler on May 28.

In what was still a productive weekend at the 2022 SA Country Championships, the Central Zone finished third on percentage.

“It was a little frustrating in end, as we were undefeated across the weekend and felt we should have played in the final,” Ribbons told

“The calculation of the percentage worked against us.

“We will be heading into the 2023 event at Nuriootpa with a real focus on winning the title.

“The rules are a little different about selection criteria this year and when we had our initial selection meeting, the signs are that well have a stronger team than last year.

“A couple of the girls I coached at Central District – Lauren Breguet and Katelyn Rosenzweig – will be my assistants this year, while Trent Mewett returns in the same role.”

Ribbons has a playing connection to the SA Country Championships, being the Central Zone player of the carnival in 2004, and then a member of the title winning side the following year under Mid North legend Keith Nutt.

His football at senior level started as a 14-year-old playing for the now defunct Ngallo Football Club in the Lameroo and Districts competition, playing alongside his father Lyall, along with uncles Ray Schroeder and Troy Richmond.

All three of the previous generation were known to be outstanding country footballers, with Ray winning the 1978 Mail Medal, while he (Ray) and Lyall were both runner-up and third in medal counts in other seasons.

After Under 17s, Under 19s and Reserves SANFL football with West Adelaide, Ribbons had a couple of seasons with the Kadina Bloodhounds in the Yorke Peninsula Football League, having premiership success under the coaching of Ian Elsworthy, before tenures with the Nuriootpa Rovers and the North Clare Roosters.

Shaun Ribbons acting in his capacity as Central’s U18 assistant coach. Picture – Peter Argent

His first foray into coaching was as current Glenelg senior coach Darren Reeves assistant, in his first year in the role at the Nuriootpa Tigers coach in 2014.

“After that initial season with ‘Reeva’ (Reeves), I actually went back and played footy the next year,” Ribbons explained.

“I’d coached the Nuriootpa Under 17s for three years and then when ‘Reeva’ won the Under 18s role at Central District I was an assistant to him down at the Ponderosa.

“I was actually travelling around Australia when the Central District senior women’s position first came up.

“It was a wonderful and rare opportunity to start from scratch, and build your own program and to be a senior coach in my own right, all in the one position.”

Ribbons got a lot of satisfaction from having a direct connection with 14 of the 21 players who participated in the Central District women’s team’s first final at Flinders University Stadium, en route to winning the club’s inaugural SANFLW premiership.

The Ribbons trilogy is continuing as well, as Shaun’s only daughter, Harper Ribbons played for the Barossa and Light representative team in the 2023 South Australian Primary Schools Amateur Sports Association (SAPSASA) women’s football competition at West Beach last week.

Harper’s Uncle Dylan (Shaun’s younger sibling) played through the grades for West Adelaide and SACA first grade cricket for West Torrens as a teenager. He was also a SANFL league footballer for the Adelaide Crows, playing 10 games in 2015-16.

Shaun Ribbons in action for Nuriootpa. Picture – Peter Argent

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