B-Baller Erin Phillips Makes History, Joins Port Power Women’s AFL Team

One of the Australia’s premiere basketballers has today announced intentions to make a dramatic switch in codes.

Erin Phillips – who, as an Opal, has an Olympic silver medal and a World Championships gold medal to her name – has today announced her intentions to become the “marquee” athlete in Port Adelaide‘s first-ever professional women’s AFL side.
The Power today made their intentions clear to establish a women’s side in the Women’s AFL competition, the formation of which is speculated to occur during 2016.
Phillips is the daughter of Greg Phillips – a champion South Australian footballer who played 343 games, for the SANFL‘s Port Adelaide Magpies (bringing home 8 premierships), as well as knocking up 84 games for Collingwood in the VFL, and 20 representative games for South Australia.
Her basketball career has seen her find significant success in the WNBA, picking up two championships – one in 2012 with the Indiana Fever, and one in 2014 with the Phoenix Mercury. She currently plays for the Los Angeles Sparks.
Phillips’ fronted media today and confirmed her move to football will not impact her preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games – any speculated women’s AFL league will not commence play until the 2017 season.

“My first and foremost priority is the Opals, and to make it to the Olympics in 2016. This announcement hasn’t changed my passion and commitment for basketball or Australia – it’s my No. 1 priority right now.”

“The chance to follow in Dad’s footsteps and play for the club is something that I’m really excited about doing.”

“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.”

“Really, this announcement isn’t about me, it’s about another club saying it wants to help give women and girls the opportunity to play football at the elite level. It’s exciting to be part of that.”

Phillips played junior-level football for Adelaide club SMOSH West Lakes, before running into the age-barriers that have long prevented women from progressing and carving out adult athletic careers in Australian rules football.

But on the back of a spate of highly successful exhibition games featuring women’s teams representing Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, it is strongly believed that the AFL is gearing up to launch a six-team women’s competition that will begin playing in 2017.
The good word states that the competition will comprise of 4 teams from Victoria, and one from both South Australia and Western Australia. Port‘s announcement today puts them in the box seat to secure Adelaide’s inaugural professional women’s football license.
In Victoria, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs are considered all-but certainties to be awarded teams, with Essendon, Carlton, Richmond, and St Kilda all expressing strong interests in being part of the historic league launch.
As of yet, neither West Coast or Fremantle have outwardly stated their intentions to follow suit.
Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images.