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.
“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."
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.
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.
Erin Phillips is bound for the hall of fame and it’s not even a question.
AFLW’s first legitimate star.
And she did it all in her 30s after an exceptional career in another sport.
— Daniel Cherny (@DanielCherny) October 31, 2023
Congratulations on an incredible career, Erin. 👏👏
— Melbourne AFLW (@MelbourneAFLW) October 31, 2023
Congratulations Erin on an absolutely outstanding career, we were so lucky to have you at the @CrowsAFLW . A fantastic leader and person, all the best in your retirement from playing, but I have no doubt you'll be around footy still. 👏👏👏👏❤️💛💙🌈 🏆🌟 @aflwomens #AFLW
— Erica H 💙❤️💛 (@Rebelstorm) October 31, 2023
Erin Phillips set a new benchmark for everybody when AFLW launched. She reset visions.
Through actions - on and off field - she said: this level is possible, follow me.
An ongoing joy to see so many following her truly game-changing lead. @AFL #AFL #AFLW pic.twitter.com/nc2I0H0LMr
— Sam Lane (@SamJaneLane) October 31, 2023
What a Champion
— Les Keefe (@keefe_les) October 30, 2023
The league should name medals after Erin and Daisy Pearce, one for the comp b&f (Brownlow) and the other BOG in the grand final
— Tom McElroy (@ChefsDad350) October 31, 2023
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.