AFLW star Erin Phillips says it’s the most emotional she’s seen her dad in a long time.
In a video that has had over 70,000 views on social media, Erin and her father, club legend Greg Phillips, embrace as she reveals she will be wearing the number one guernsey as the inaugural leader of the Port Adelaide women’s football team.
“It’s a shock,” says Greg, wiping away tears.
“It doesn’t matter what number you wear, I’m proud of you.”
“My dad is a pretty emotional guy,” Erin Phillips told the ABC at the AFLW captains’ day last Wednesday.
“He sneaks down to watch training quite a bit. I stitched him up and said, bring a camera and a microphone, because this will probably be pretty special.
“He was obviously very emotional, and very proud.”
After making the move to Alberton in the off-season, Phillips had originally been assigned the number 22 in honour of her father, who played in eight club premierships.
Greg wore 22 for the majority of his career — and seven premierships — before switching to number one as he led the side to another successful grand final campaign as captain in 1992.
Port Adelaide’s captains traditionally receive the number one when appointed to the top role.
“It’s an incredible part of Port Adelaide that the captain wears number one,” Phillips said when asked if she’d considered breaking with tradition and wearing 22.
“I think it’s special. And you know, my Dad did wear the number one, so this is still connected to him as well. He got to lead this great club, and now I do too, and I’m just so proud.”
‘Chelsea and I are both highly competitive’
Ahead of AFLW season seven, which kicks off on Thursday evening at Princes Park, Phillips cut a familiar figure amongst the group of club captains that had gathered at Marvel stadium.
It was the first time, however, that she had stood alongside good friend and former co-captain of the Adelaide Crows Chelsea Randall in opposition colours.
“I always love seeing her,” said Phillips.
“I’m just really proud that I got to spend six years alongside Chelsea and we did some great things together at the club — the success we had and what we were able to build together.
“You’re never going to break those friendships — they’re forever. But Chelsea and I are so highly competitive — when we cross the white line, we’ll play as hard as we can.
“We want to beat each other … I wouldn’t expect anything else from Chelsea and the Adelaide Crows girls.”
Despite her love for Randall and her former teammates, Phillips said she was satisfied that she had made the right choice to join the club she’d followed all her life.
“As a whole, for me, this feels right, as it does for football in South Australia,” Phillips said.
“I think the impact of having two teams is going to be incredible, and I hope that when the showdown does happen, Adelaide Oval is absolutely chockers and rocking, because it’ll be a massive celebration for South Australian women’s football.”
‘I didn’t like playing against Loz too much’
Ahead of the Power’s first season in the 18-team competition, Phillips said she and the leadership group — which includes another former Crow as vice-captain in Ange Foley — had a unique opportunity to define the culture of the team.
“We want to have a really special connection,” Phillips said.
“I’m really lucky to have been part of a great culture at the Crows and that’s your foundation, that’s going to give you success.
“So we’ve really spent a lot of time building connections and getting to know each other as people first and players second.”
This includes the connection Phillips is developing with coach Lauren Arnell, who Phillips lined up against when she played in the Brisbane Lions’ premiership triumph over Adelaide.
“I didn’t like playing against Loz [Arnell] too much,” Phillips laughed.
“[Arnell] is one of the most competitive, do-whatever-it-takes-to-win kind of people. Then she’s come over as my coach, and she’s one of the most caring people you’ve ever met.
“You think, gosh she was a hard nut on the field, [but] she’s just wonderful in her knowledge of the game, her care and the work she’s putting in.
“It’s really exciting. Hopefully, we can keep building those connection pieces that she’s driving.”
Phillips is also thrilled to be playing alongside former Docker Gemma Houghton, who made the surprise move to the club after six seasons in Western Australia.
“It’s a massive commitment for anyone to move interstate,” Phillips said.
“I said to Gem, ‘I feel like you’ve been here for 10 years.’ She loves the club, she loves being in Adelaide, and her energy and passion are just infections — she’s just wonderful to be around.
“I remember many nightmares of Gemma Houghton getting the ball over the back and scoring goals, because it was over from that point, so I’m just glad that she’s on my team now.”
And while it’s just their first season in the competition, Phillips refuses to put a limit on what the team can achieve.
“We’re just going to play a brand of footy that’s the Port Adelaide way — that our fans and members are going to love and, if we play that way, hopefully, success follows,” Phillips said.
“Obviously, every single one of us, our goal is to win premierships, and we have a very successful club that exists to win premierships, so that’s something we want to build towards.”
Source: AFL NEWS ABC