The Adelaide star polled a total of 14 votes across the seven-round home-and-away season to win the inaugural award from Melbourne’s Karen Paxman and Bulldogs star Ellie Blackburn on 10 votes.
“When I was 13 years old … I was told I wasn’t allowed to play any more with the boys,” Phillips said. “To have this 17 years later only a few years I’m so, so fortunate. I’m so grateful it was brought forward and to be a part of it is so special. I think it would have passed my time (if it hadn’t been played this year). I’ve loved every single bit of it. I just love the game. As soon as I was born, I wanted to play footy.”
Phillips admitted she was guilty of pestering her Port Adelaide playing father Greg when he got home from training to kick the footy when she was young. It also paid off.