The Phillips father-daughter duo knows football, flags, and what it takes to be a champion like the palm of their hand.
There are eleven flags between recent Hall of Fame inductee and Port Adelaide Magpies champion Greg Phillips, and AFLW powerhouse Erin Phillips. Should the Adelaide Crows knock over the Brisbane Lions, in the AFLW grand final on Saturday, another flag could be added to the Phillips family collection.
The saying blood runs thicker than water runs true, A self-professed “Port Adelaide man” will put his allegiances aside to get around his daughter’s team on Saturday.
After captaining his team to a flag, and proceeding to play in another seven, he knows what makes a premiership team tick, seeing similar signs from the Adelaide Crows
“I just want to wish everyone well.” He told The Inner Sanctum.
“I’ve played in nine premierships for the Port Adelaide Magpies and It just doesn’t happen individually. I know the Adelaide Crows women’s team is a great team.”
“If they just continue to play in the manner they’re playing, and keep the belief in what they’ve been able to achieve, on the day, if they settle down and play the game that they” know they can play, I’m sure they can come out on top.”
“I know their [Crows] supporters, and everyone is pretty pumped that they’re there, so I just want to wish everyone well”
“Let’s enjoy the day and hopefully the Crows come out top.”
Erin’s journey to becoming an AFLW champion wasn’t as straightforward as her father’s. In fact, there wasn’t a pathway to professionalism for her to take at all.
Women didn’t have the same opportunities as Greg did over his 17-year career. They couldn’t become premiership players or captains. A women’s all-Australian squad was unheard of, as was a Women’s best and fairest award.
The game hasn’t been around long enough for female footballers to become life members, or for there to be a ‘greatest team of all time’ and no female players have been inducted into the hall of fame.
All of those remarkable achievements listed are those of Greg Phillips, however, he acknowledges that his daughter is not far off from matching him with her own impressive record.
Recent focus, inclusivity, and diversity within the code enabled Erin, and other aspiring female footballers to follow their dreams. This change allowed Erin to defy the odds and excel in the AFLW.
Without ceaseless advocacy for women’s sport, the Port Adelaide great didn’t expect to see her where she is today.
“She was playing with the boys back in her early days in the under 14s. When footy finished for Erin, I thought that was it. There was no more.”
“To believe where it is right now that she’s going for her third premiership is quite exciting”
Heading into adolescence, with no women’s Australian Rules Football league for the foreseeable future, she forged a successful global basketball career. Although basketball was not his niche, Greg and his wife Julie supported her every step of the way.
MORE AFLW STORIES
That all changed in 2016. A long-awaited addition to Australia’s sporting fixture, a Women’s AFL competition, came into fruition.
With a chance to live out her childhood dream Phillips returned to Australia.
The South Australian local expected to follow her father’s footsteps and play for Port Adelaide. Instead, the license went to their rivals, the Adelaide Crows. Upon arrival in 2017, she would have no idea of the success to come her way.
“She was still in the US playing basketball when that was all coming about when the Crows got in” He said.
“When the Crows got in before Port Power, I’m was glad the Crows asked her to sign”
“She’s always enjoyed playing footy as a child. To come back, she’s fulfilling her dream to keep playing. And what a dream to win a couple of premierships and win a couple of good awards on the way.”
Greg is proud to see his daughter be a household name in the women’s game. All the progress to advance and enable his daughter among others in his world is “just absolutely super exciting.”
in the short history of the competition Erin Phillips has accumulated quite the number of honours.
Two-time premiership co-captain, winning the best-on-ground medal in both matches. A recipient of two league and club best and fairest medals, AFL Players’ Association MVP awards and All-Australian blazers. And to top off, she won Goal of the Year in 2017 to boot.
But being a star of the game isn’t the only reason she’s become a household name of the AFLW. Thanks to her tireless efforts to promote the game, few people are unfamiliar with Erin Phillips and the women’s game.
Her father could not be prouder of her work and outreach.
“We’re super excited that she’s playing footy.”
“She’s been a great ambassador for the young boys and girls that are watching the footy. While she’s fulfilling a lot of kid’s dreams, she’s fulfilling her own. My wife and I are very pleased with what she’s been able to do and achieve.”
“I have ten grandchildren and they’re as excited as Julie and I are to see that what she’s done. It only makes my younger family want to play footy and no doubt there’s a lot of children around Australia who will want to do the same.”
“It’s just been a huge excitement for what Erin’s been able to achieve.”
“I can’t say much more than that I’m super proud of her. I had a great career myself, but to see what she’s been able to achieve is the best thing that I could ever expect out of anyone in my family.
“What she’s done is just an unbelievable effort, as her dad, I’m pretty proud.”