Port Adelaide have sent Erin Phillips into retirement in style, with a 58-point win against GWS marking the end of the AFLW great’s career.
An emotional Phillips was chaired from Alberton Oval after the Power’s 13.10 (88) to 4.6 (30) victory, in which she scored a rapturously received final-quarter goal.
The 38-year-old retires as the league’s most decorated player with three premierships (for Adelaide) and having twice been named league best-and-fairest and three times All Australian.
Phillips produced a couple of trademark moments and Ashleigh Saint booted five goals as 15th-placed Port blew away the Giants for just the second win of their campaign, posting their highest score in two seasons.
After Phillips led her team through a ceremonial banner, Port booted five goals to none in a decisive opening-term tribute. Gemma Houghton slotted two – a superb long-range snap followed by an accurate set shot – as the Power led 5.2 to 0.2 at quarter-time.
Port Adelaide’s Erin Phillips is chaired off by Justine Mules and Angela Foley after her final AFLW match against GWS. Photograph: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos/Getty Images
The second stanza was the Saint show. The full-forward booted three goals, including two in 90 seconds, as Port streeted to a 47-point half-time advantage, 8.3 to 0.4.
Saint soon added her fourth goal early in the third term, before the Giants briefly rallied. The visitors kicked three majors, two from Zarlie Goldsworthy and another from Isabel Huntington, to gain some traction.
But the Power’s star attacker Saint scored her fifth goal as the home side built a commanding eight-goal lead at the final change.
Port’s parochial crowd then cheered Phillips’ every move in the last quarter, roaring in delight when she converted a set shot for her final goal.
“I don’t think I have been as nervous to kick a goal in my life, to be honest,” Phillips told Fox Footy. “It was obviously a big week and it was just an awesome game, four quarters of Port Adelaide footy, it’s awesome to finish off like that.”
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Phillips, also an Olympics basketball silver medallist, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and winner of two WNBA titles, gathered 16 disposals in her farewell.
Kalgoorlie-born midfielder Abbey Dowrick won a game-high 24 disposals, featuring 11 clearances, and her teammates Maria Moloney (17 touches) and Jasmin Stewart (15) were also busy.
The Giants were well served by Rebecca Beeson (22 disposals), Tarni Evans (21 disposals) and Goldsworthy, who kicked two goals among her 21 possessions.