Olympic basketballer Erin Phillips has agreed to become Port Adelaide’s first female AFL player should the Power be granted entry into the new national women’s league.
Phillips’ impressive resume includes two WNBA titles, a world championship gold medal and an Olympic silver medal.
She is also daughter of eight-time Port Adelaide Magpies’ SANFL premiership player Greg Phillips.
“This announcement is pretty unbelievable … since I was born I’ve wanted to play football for Port Adelaide like dad,” Phillips said on Wednesday. “For this to happen now is quite incredible, quite surreal.”
A lot of water has to go under the bridge for Phillips to follow in the footsteps of her father.
The AFL is yet to determine which teams will take part in the inaugural women’s competition, slated to start in 2017, with cross-town rivals Adelaide, West Coast, Fremantle, Essendon and Geelong all expressing interest following on from the success of this year’s women’s game between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
Given her family’s ties to Port Adelaide, a club spokesman said that Phillips would most likely continue with her basketball career should the Power’s bid be unsuccessful rather than link up with another women’s AFL team.
The 30-year-old currently plays for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA and her focus will remain on basketball while the details of the women’s AFL competition are worked out.
“My first and foremost priority is the Opals, and to make it to the Olympics in 2016,” she said.
“This announcement hasn’t changed my passion and commitment for basketball or Australia – it’s my No. 1 priority right now.
“Obviously the competition is two years away and there are many unknowns, but I’m proud to be offered this opportunity to play for Port one day, and to be part of the journey.”