Wings guard Erin Phillips has two favorite football teams: the Dallas Cowboys and the Port Adelaide Power. The DFW area is all-too familiar with the former, but not many have heard of the latter. It’s Phillips’s job to spread the word about one of Australia’s most successful clubs.
“I love the game,” Phillips said. “It’s an Australian game. It’s our game and I’m very proud of it.”
The Port Adelaide Football Club was founded in 1870 and competes in the Australian Football League, the highest-level professional competition of Australian rules football. Phillips was born in Melbourne, Australia and her father Greg played for Port Adelaide throughout the 1970s and 80s.
“I grew up with memories of him playing football,” Phillips added. “I love to be involved with sports, if it’s basketball or football. My goal when I’m done playing is to get into coaching or commentating. That would be great.”
Erin stays connected with Port Adelaide as the club’s ambassador. When she’s at home she is involved through game day events and function appearances, but when she is state-side, her job is to spread the word about Australian rules football and be the “club’s biggest supporter.”
“I even bought the extra sports channels for my tv in the states so I could watch the matches here,” Phillips said.
Despite her love for the Australian game, Phillips has also come to enjoy American football and the NFL. She has made her offseason home in the DFW area and has come to love the Dallas Cowboys and their star players Tony Romo and Jason Witten.
“I don’t know what I would do if they came to one of our games,” Phillips said. “I would probably call a timeout and go over to take a picture.”
Phillips’s Twitter bio includes a picture of her in a Witten jersey, and she says that now that she plays in Dallas, one of her goals is to teach Romo how to play the Australian sport.
“They are completely different,” Phillips added. “It’s not comparable. In American football, there are specific positions (like Romo at quarterback). In Australia, there are multiple positions that are very versatile. Everyone plays all over the field.”
The level of athleticism is completely different in the southern hemisphere as well, since there is no protective equipment and no breaks in the play.
“I think it’s the best sport in the world,” Phillips said. “People always ask me to compare it to something. It’s not like rugby, it’s not soccer, and it’s not the NFL. It’s better. That’s how I see the game.”
If you’re interested in seeing Australian football yourself, Phillips suggests checking out the Dallas Magpies, a member of the United States Australian Football League since 1998.
To see Phillips in role on the court, the Wings make their home debut at the College Park Center on Saturday, May 21st at 7:30 PM when they take on the in-state rival San Antonio Stars.