AFLW star Phillips swaps Adelaide clubs
Steve Larkin |
Erin Phillips, the AFLW’s most decorated player, says she’s fulfilling an emotional lifelong dream by joining Port Adelaide.
Phillips has left reigning premiers Adelaide to join Port for their debut AFLW season, linking with the club of her father Greg.
“This is honestly a dream come true to say that I played for the Port Adelaide Football Club,” Phillips told reporters on Wednesday.
“It is something that I have wanted to do my whole life.
“Ever since I could walk and talk I wanted to be like my dad and play for Port Adelaide.
“To be back here at a place that I call home … just gives me goosebumps.”
Greg Phillips is Port legend, an eight-time SANFL premiership player and club captain who also had a successful VFL stint with Collingwood.
His daughter is the AFLW’s brightest star: a dual league best and fairest medallist and triple All Australian who has won three premierships — best-afield in two of them.
Phillips long-stated she wanted to play with Port in their inaugural team, likely to start this August, but agonised over leaving the Crows.
“It was incredibly difficult,” she said.
“It was one that I went back and forth so many times.
“Even though I was a Port girl … it wasn’t easy to say goodbye and take on another challenge.”
Despite his pedigree, her father Greg didn’t push her towards Alberton.
“My dad has been wonderful throughout this process, as my whole family have been,” she said.
“He told me that there was no really wrong decision and that I have got to make the decision that is best for me and things I want to do in the future.
“He is really rapt, more rapt in the fact that I have just made the decision so I can now just finally put my head down and get to work.”
That work will include sounding out other AFLW players to potentially join her at Port.
“I will be having some chats,” she said.
Phillips has no retirement plans but her deal with Port extends beyond her playing career.
The 36-year-old, who was also a professional basketballer in the WNBA and WNBL and an Opals world championship gold medallist, looms as a coach-in-waiting.
“I haven’t really thought too much just about the coaching part,” Phillips said.
“Number one is, I want to keep playing.
“As long as I can physically play and perform to a level where I can contribute and still love it, I will play as long as I can.”
And also create her own famous Phillips footprint at Alberton, where she will wear her father’s number, 22.
“My dad’s legacy here is incredible,” she said.
“But I want to now make my own legacy at this club.”AAP