AFL Women’s footballer Erin Phillips has become the AFL’s first ever female Best and Fairest award winner, just days after her team the Adelaide Crows won the inaugural Grand Final at the weekend.
The AFL women’s league began its inaugural season in February with eight teams, and the matches proved so popular many were moved to larger venues.
When the Adelaide Crows’ co-captain’s name was announced as Best and Fairest – the female equivalent of the Brownlow – at Tuesday night’s AFL Women’s Awards, she said it was honour to receive the title and she was in awe of the talent she’d seen in the female teams.
“I was 13 years old and I was told I wasn’t allowed to play footy any more with the boys,” she said.
“To have this 17 years later, only a few years… I’m so, so fortunate.”
Erin thanked the AFL for accelerating the start of the Women’s competition three years earlier than planned, and said she may have missed out otherwise.
“I’ve loved every single bit of it. I just love the game. As soon as I was born, I wanted to play footy,” she said.
Erin kissed her wife Tracy Gahan, with whom she has two sons, before taking to the stage.
“Every bit of this is owed to you… I love you and thank you so much,” Erin told her.
The Adelaide Crows claimed the inaugural AFLW grand final with a thrilling 35-29 win against the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, and Erin Phillips was also voted MVP at the end of the season.
Erin has twice represented Australia in the Olympics and will return to the US in April where she also plays for the WNBA’s Dallas Wings team.
— AFL Women's (@aflwomens) March 28, 2017
Very honoured to be voted @AFLPlayers MVP. Grateful to be a part of such a special league with so many talented players.
— Erin Phillips (@erinphillips131) March 27, 2017