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Erin Phillips announcement leaves fans saddened as trailblazing AFLW career ends

The footy and basketball star has revealed she's hanging up the boots.

Erin Phillips.
Erin Phillips is retiring as the most decorated player in AFLW history. Image: Getty

Erin Phillips has announced she will retire from the AFLW after Port Adelaide's clash with GWS on Saturday, bringing down the curtain on the competition's most-decorated career. The 38-year-old will hang up the boots after Port's season-ending home game, ending an eight-year career (six with the Crows and two with the Power).

The goal-kicking midfielder has three premierships to her name, as well as two AFLW best-and-fairest awards, three All-Australian selections, two AFLPA players' MVP awards and two club best and fairests. In a statement on Tuesday she said: "The time is right for me to call time on my football career. I am so grateful to Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Football Club for giving me the opportunity to play the game I have loved since I was little.

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“To share the last two years of my career with the Alberton crowd has been an incredible experience. I have given everything I had left to this club, and I’m so grateful to our members and fans for their support, through the highs and lows. It has been a true privilege to lead this team and I can’t wait to see what this group will achieve in the coming years. It's been an amazing ride and I'm looking forward to the next chapter. For me, that will mean giving my body a rest and spending more time with my family."

Erin Phillips and partner Tracy Gahan.
Erin Phillips and partner Tracy Gahan at the 2019 AFLW Awards. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images) (Scott Barbour via Getty Images)

Phillips has four children with partner Tracy Gahan, welcoming daughter London earlier this year. The pair met in 2014 while playing basketball for the Adelaide Lightning.

Phillips has played footy since she was 13, following in the footsteps of her father - Port Adelaide and Collingwood champion Greg Phillips. She was initially unable to play at the level she wanted because of a lack of a top-tier women's competition in Australia.

She instead turned to basketball, winning the FIBA World Cup with the Opals and a silver medal at the Olympics. She also won gold at the Commonwealth Games, as well as two WNBA championships.

Erin Phillips, pictured here with the AFLW Best and Fairest award in 2017.
Erin Phillips with the AFLW Best and Fairest award in 2017. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

She then signed with the Adelaide Crows for the AFLW's inaugural season in 2017, becoming the club's co-captain with Chelsea Randall. She won the league's best and fairest award that year and delivering a best-on-ground performance in the Crows' grand final win over Brisbane Lions.

Phillips repeated that feat in 2019 as league best and fairest and premiership co-captain, but tore her anterior cruciate ligament late in her best-on-ground performance in that year's grand final. She also kicked a goal in Adelaide's season-six grand final win over Melbourne in 2022.

AFL world pays tribute to Erin Phillips ahead of final game

Phillips kicked 50 goals in 46 games with the Crows, before moving to Port Adelaide as their captain when they entered the competition ahead of the seventh season in 2022. She has played 19 games for the Power, booting two goals.

Port Adelaide’s head of women’s football Juliet Haslam said: “Erin has given everything she has to this club. She is a proud Port Adelaide person and her commitment to her craft is second to none.

“We are so pleased to have shared in the last two seasons of her career. It’s been wonderful to watch her lead our group as captain, and we look forward to seeing what she will do next. We wish Erin all the very best in her retirement. Erin, Tracy and their children, Brooklyn, Blake, Drew and Londyn will always be part of the Port Adelaide family.”

Tributes have been flowing in around social media after news of Phillips' retirement.

with AAP

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