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Star Crow Erin Phillips goes 'home' to Port Adelaide

Football

Erin Phillips, the AFLW’s most decorated player, is leaving Adelaide for Port Adelaide in a major coup for the club’s inaugural season in the women’s league.

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Phillips, a dual AFLW best and fairest winner who earlier this month won her third AFLW Premiership with the Crows, announced this morning she will be wearing a Port guernsey next season

The 36-year-old had long been linked with a move to Alberton given her family’s connections to the club. Her father, Greg Phillips, was an eight-time premiership player and club captain with the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL.

Phillips leaves the Crows after playing 46 games and kicking 50 goals for the club over six AFLW seasons. The midfielder-forward is also a dual Crows club champion and was best on ground in the club’s 2017 and 2019 Grand Final triumphs.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to have been a part of the most successful AFLW club to date,” Phillips said in a statement issued by Port Adelaide on Wednesday.

“I obviously have great memories and friendships from my time at Adelaide which I will cherish forever.

“But as a kid growing up all I wanted was to be like dad and play football for the Port Adelaide Football Club.

“Port Adelaide feels like home to me. It’s where I spent a lot of my childhood.

“It was always my dream to be able to represent the club and add to its incredible history, and I am beyond thrilled to finally get that chance and play a role in building this team from the ground up.”

In a separate statement issued by Adelaide, Phillips said the decision to leave the club was “incredibly difficult” and she wished her friends at the Crows “nothing but the best for the future”.

“I am forever grateful to the Adelaide Football Club and the members and supporters for the opportunity to represent this amazing club for the past six years,” she said.

Phillips could be the first of several Crows to leave the club as the competition’s four expansion teams – Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Essendon and Sydney – look to build their lists for their inaugural year in the AFLW.

The signing comes just weeks after Port Adelaide announced the appointment of AFLW veteran Lauren Arnell as the club’s inaugural AFLW coach.

Port Adelaide’s AFLW head of football Juliet Haslam said luring Phillips was an “ideal first signing” for the club.

“Erin is a brilliant player and more importantly a fantastic person,” Haslam said.

“She knows what it takes to be successful in elite sport and in particular in the AFLW having won just about every accolade from a team and personal perspective.

“We are excited to have her commit to be on board, and look forward to adding to our playing group in the coming weeks.”

Adelaide’s AFLW head of football Phil Harper said the club was “disappointed” by the decision but conceded a greater level of player movement due to the expansion clubs is “inevitable”.

“As a footballer Erin has been the best player of her generation but equally she is a great person,” he said.

“Her contribution to our club, as well as women’s football here in South Australia and nationally, has been significant and she has helped create a legacy from which many young girls and women will benefit.

“Given our depth of talent and knowing in advance that expansion teams would target our players, we have been working to a deliberate and well thought out list management strategy.

“Our Club is well placed for a period of sustained on-field success and we remain as committed as ever to doing all we can to promote and grow the women’s game, especially here in South Australia.”

The next AFLW season could begin as early as August to give the season clean air from the men’s competition.

-With AAP

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