When two-time AFLW Premiership-winning footy player Erin Phillips heard her knee crack during the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s Grand Final, you’d think the first thing that would go through her head would be about the game.
But instead, her mind went to where most mothers’ minds go when they find themselves facing a debilitating injury.
“I knew I had done my knee straight away. I mean, it was a very loud distinctive pop,” Erin tells Mamamia. “It’s funny what comes into your mind straight away because mine was devastation but then it was ‘How am I going to run around and chase the kids?’'”
The 34-year-old AFLW star wasn’t just worried about her children, three-year-old twins Brooklyn and Blake and their six-month-old Drew – but also the added pressure it would place on her wife, Tracy Gahan.
“I wasn’t going to be good enough for my kids for the next few weeks because I was going to be sitting on the couch and I was going to need surgery… and I just felt pure guilt for Tracy,” Erin says.
“It’s hard enough being parents, I mean we had two kids at the time and we already felt outnumbered and another baby coming in July and I just thought, ‘What have I done, this is going to make her life so much harder’ and I felt like such a burden on everybody. Mother’s guilt is amazing, it’s really next level.”
And the mother’s guilt extended past her immediate family. Erin’s teammates were also looking to her for her strong leadership, a role she has performed so well as co-captain of the Adelaide Crows AFLW side with Chelsea Randall. The women have both been named to lead the group again in 2020 despite both being on the injured list.
Erin says she feels like mum of the group, and even has the car to back it up, one she was able to secure through long-time presenting sponsor of the game and official AFLW auto partner Toyota.
“I’m currently driving a Toyota Granvia, which is the biggest people mover that’s not a commercial truck I think. Everyone thinks I pick up the team for training like I do drop off, it’s become a bit of a joke around the team at the moment,” Erin shares.
Toyota has supported the AFL for more than 15 years, and last year raised just under $400,000 for grassroots football clubs with their Good for Footy raffle.
In 2020, Toyota will further its commitment to AFLW with its GFF Gear program, providing 100 local women’s teams across Australia with uniforms designed specifically for women. It’s an extension of Toyota’s Good for Cricket program launched in late 2019, which saw 100 women’s cricket clubs around Australia receive $150,000 worth of equipment.
The Toyota Good for Footy Grants Program (GFF) means female footy players won’t need to wear hand-me-down footy gear from men’s teams that don’t fit or meet uniform requirements. The message is that women’s sport is not an afterthought – it’s a priority.