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What's in a name? Erin's stands alone

WHEN Erin Phillips tomorrow night wins the – as yet – unnamed AFLW equivalent of the Brownlow Medal, the 2006 FIBA Women’s World Champion's name permanently should be engraved on it.

The Phillips Medal – it has a nice (premiership) ring to it, don’t you think?

Erin’s footballing exploits already have seen her take the Adelaide Crows to the new competition’s inaugural premiership, winning the best-on-ground accolade in the Grand Final.

She also has won the Players Union’s Most Valuable Player award and you know she will win the club’s best-and-fairest.

Having watched her as a basketballing junior at West Adelaide Bearcats, lead Adelaide Lightning to the 2008 WNBL championship, become a dual-Olympian and a two-time WNBA Championship winner with Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury, there’s never been any mystery about her sporting prowess.

I was even lucky enough to be in attendance when she shot 40 points for Lightning in an overtime semi final loss to the Flames in Sydney in 2005 – after her Adelaide team had been involved in a bad car accident en route, with players injured, distressed and the match tip-off delayed.

But watching her play Aussie Rules – the true blue “footy” – has been a revelation. From taking hits, to specky marks, to brilliant goals, Erin has been in her element, playing the sport her father Greg was famous for as an eight-time premiership player for Port Adelaide, around a couple of VFL years with Collingwood.

Erin always has wanted to play the sport and now got her overdue chance to do it when the AFL invented women’s sport this year.

Imagine what her WNBA fans at Dallas Wings will be thinking when ESPN shows footage of what their point guard was doing in the off-season? Talk about promoting the code internationally!

But what Erin did this season which few expected was to not only show her footballing prowess but to set herself apart as the best player in the game.

By far.

She was the Bradman, the Jordan or the Ali of the AFLW.

While every other woman in the league was playing football, Erin was and is a footballer.

There’s no Mr Charles Brownlow or Mr William Magarey for the AFLW. There’s just Ms Phillips – and daylight.

The day Erin hangs up her boots – the ones with sprigs – is the day the AFLW should make its best and fairest award “the Phillips Medal”.

She has set a standard it will take the pack years to reach.

Mar 27

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.