Phillips crowned AFLW's best for a second time

THERE could only be one.

Adelaide superstar and pre-count favourite Erin Phillips was the deserving winner of her second NAB AFL Women's best and fairest award on Tuesday night, polling 19 of a possible 21 votes. 

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Extraordinarily, she had the award clinched after five rounds with a tally of 14, having been judged best afield in four games and polling two votes in the other.

She ended with a count of 19, five ahead of the winning tally over the two prior years. 

Phillips streeted the field, with Fremantle's Dana Hooker (11) and Melbourne's Karen Paxman (10) rounding out the podium.

Phillips claims her second AFLW best and fairest medal

07:07 Apr 2. 2019. 9:31 PM

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It capped off a campaign that proved Phillips is the dominant performer in the competition. 

Adding more weight to that argument, the 33-year-old became a dual AFL Players' Association MVP on Monday and was named captain of the Virgin Australia AFL Women's All Australian team.

A torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee suffered in the third term of the Grand Final against Carlton wasn't enough to stop her from taking home best-on-ground honours.

Erin Phillips is consoled after injuring her knee in the AFLW Grand Final

Last year, Phillips carried a quad injury through the season and it stopped her from replicating the stunning form she showed during the inaugural AFLW season, when the brilliant ball-winner came away with every individual accolade on offer. 

In 2019, she averaged 21 disposals, five clearances, three tackles and more than a goal per game. 

In a revealing on-stage interview, it emerged she had considered retiring after being asked by WNBA side Dallas Wings to apply for the head coaching role, following former coach Fred Williams' departure last August.

"For that to happen would've meant not playing AFLW, and I politely declined. It's obviously not a guarantee I would have got the job, but I wasn't going to risk not playing AFLW," Phillips said.  

"I just wasn't ready to be done." 

There's a chance that Adelaide's second premiership was her final game, as she acknowledged coming back from a second knee reconstruction would be an arduous task.

That will particularly be the case with a third child on the way, with her wife Tracy Gahan 22 weeks pregnant. 

Erin Phillips and wife Tracy Gahan at the 2019 W Awards

"It's not fun. I'll be 34 next month and I think the bigger picture is figuring out how to chase three kids soon," Phillips said.  

"I'll rehab, I'll do everything I can. If I get back up and play, great, if not, I'll be pretty bloody happy to finish on that note." 

As the youngest of Port Adelaide legend Greg Phillips' three girls, she heard many comments from people around her.

"When I was born, people felt sorry for him because he didn't have a son to play footy someday, to carry the Phillips name," Phillips said.  

"Dad, I know you're watching and mum, I hope I've made you proud, and you can stick it up those people who said that to you."