Hailed by 10-time Port Adelaide Magpies SANFL premiership coach John Cahill as the best player in her age group when she was a teenager, Erin Phillips ended her first stint in the Australian rules code at the age of 14.
Now 38 and a foundation player in the AFLW, launched in 2017, Erin Phillips announced her retirement today, Tuesday, October 31. She will play her final game this Saturday in Round 10 against the Greater Western Sydney Giants, at Port Adelaide’s spiritual home, Alberton Oval.
After leaving junior football, Phillips went on to enjoy a successful basketball career in Australia, Europe, and the United States, collecting two WNBA championships, a WNBL title, and being named in the WNBL all-star five on three occasions, as well as once in the Euro League all-star list.
Her first passion, however, was always our unique national football code.
At the age of 31, Phillips captained Adelaide in the AFLW’s inaugural season, lifting the premiership cup after an away win over the Brisbane Lions.
Phillips served as Adelaide’s inaugural co-captain alongside Chelsea Randell when the competition started in 2017 and racked up 46 games, kicking 50 goals for the Crows before moving home to Port Adelaide in 2022.
During her tenure at West Lakes, Phillips garnered numerous accolades: she became a three-time premiership player, a three-time All-Australian, a two-time Club Champion, twice AFLW’s best-and-fairest, a dual Club leading goal kicker, and was also named best afield in the 2017 and 2019 grand finals.
Despite suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the third quarter, Phillips was named best on ground in the 2019 decider against Carlton. She has consistently been the competition’s premier player, and her achievements are unparalleled.
“The time is right for me to call time on my football career,” Phillips said. “I am so grateful to Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Football Club for giving me the chance to play the game I’ve loved since childhood. Sharing the last two years of my career with the
Alberton crowd has been incredible. I have given everything I had left to this club, and I’m deeply grateful for the support from our members and fans through highs and lows.”
The daughter of eight-time SANFL Magpies premiership player Greg Phillips, who also captained Port to a flag, Erin finished runner-up in the club’s best and fairest count during her first season at Alberton at the age of 37. This year, she became just the 12th AFLW player to reach 1,000 career disposals.
“Erin is a formidable athlete and an exemplary leader,” said Juliet Haslam, Port Adelaide’s head of AFLW. “She is a proud Port Adelaide person, and her commitment is second to none. We’re thrilled to have shared the last two seasons of her illustrious career.”
Before making her transition to football, Phillips won an Olympic silver medal and a Commonwealth Games gold, as well as gold and bronze in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Erin and her partner Tracy are parents to four children: Brooklyn, Blake, Drew, and Londyn.
PICTURES: PETER ARGENT