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Third-generation Phillips primed for big time

Fraser’s dad Garry played three games for Geelong in 1990. Fraser hasn’t seen much of Garry play, save for some footage of a reserves grand final against Fitzroy where Garry got stuck in a headlock.

“It’s probably something I should ask him a bit more about. He’s had a big influence on my footy career. It’s been really good,” Fraser said.

Making it to the AFL has long been a goal for Fraser.

“I’ve always had a footy in my hand,” he said.

“Mum always tells me the story, there was one day, we were going into school and I’ve stopped at the gate and said to mum ‘what’s the point of this? And she’s like, ‘the point of what?’ and I said ‘the point of going to school, I’m just going to be an AFL player anyway’.”

But the journey hasn’t been quite that straightforward. Garry’s work took the Phillips family to Sydney for Fraser’s primary school years. He spent time in the Sydney Swans academy, but encountered a troubled environment at Balmain High.

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“I was struggling up in Sydney. I started losing my enjoyment in football, was in bad crowds in Sydney, and just made the decision that as a family we needed to come home,” Fraser said.

“Just bad people. [Others were] Ditching school, getting into drugs and stuff. I never even looked at that. Seeing that kind of stuff, it wasn’t great. It wasn’t a really good environment to be in. I just started losing my enjoyment in school, in footy. We made the right decision to come back into Victoria.”

Fraser has thrived since the family shifted to Warragul a few years ago. He likes to work up and down the ground and push into the midfield, but is building strength to improve the contested side of his game.

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