Fans Players

Erin Phillips always strives for greatness

As voted by her peers, Erin Phillips has won the AFLW Players’ Most Valuable Player Award for the second time, presented by Gloria Jean’s.

Hawthorn superstar Shaun Burgoyne opens up about his relationship with his sister-in-law Erin Phillips and how it’s been no surprise for him to see her dominate the AFLW, in an exclusive column.  

I remember watching Erin play football from a really young age. Both her and my younger brother Phil played in the same football team together, so I was always at her games watching her play.

She would always dominate against the boys and I remember thinking (along with many others) just how much natural talent she had when it came to playing footy. It was unreal.

Unfortunately, like many other female footballers back then, by the time you reached teenage years you could no longer play with the boys anymore so Erin was forced to turn her attention elsewhere and that turned out to be basketball — which was a pretty good decision I suppose you could say!

Fast forward all these years later and she’s picked up where she’s left off on the footy field. It was no surprise to myself, or others around her that knew her, that this was the case. Although she played basketball, football has always been her number one passion.

When she wasn’t playing basketball she would be either watching football or when she returned from overseas to Australia, she would be kicking the football with her dad and attending games. So I guess you can say that she’s always maintained her skills.

Erin’s athletically gifted yes, however, she has worked extremely hard to be where she is today. She trains harder than most people I know and her dedication is incredible. That drive to be the best is something no one can teach. You have to want it and Erin certainty does.

I remember when I used to go over to her house when I was dating her sister Amy (now my wife) and it didn’t matter what game it was whether it was playing table tennis or shooting basketball shots out the back, she hated to lose and she had to win. If she didn’t win then we wouldn’t stop playing till she finally did.

When Erin expressed interest in joining the AFLW it was a no-brainer to me that she was going to dominate. I think in her mind it was kind of like unfinished business. It was her last chance to show everyone just how good she was when playing this great game of ours. Now it was just a matter of which team was going to sign her up.

Playing with the Crows has been the perfect fit for Erin, her wife Tracy and their young family. Spending six months of the year living away in Dallas coaching in the WNBA, she gets to spend a lot more time with her parents and it’s great that all the cousins get together and spend time with each other as well.

Although me and my family live in Melbourne she is regularly calling Amy or chatting with the kids asking about their day. We’ve attended all her games when played in Melbourne and our kids enjoy going and cheering for their Aunty Erin.

It’s also great that my daughters get to watch and perhaps one day aspire to be an AFL player, too. Something that unfortunately their Aunty didn’t have the luxury of herself.

Throughout the AFLW Erin’s always been herself. She’s focused, incredibly driven and always trying to get the most out of her body so it’s been great to see the footy she has produced this year.

Erin is at the peak of her powers and I have no doubt that she will continue to improve even more over the next few years of her career.

Isn’t that a scary thought in itself?