Danielle Ponter, who has been drafted into the Adelaide Crow's AFLW team, with Michael Long and mum Susie Long at TIO Stadium.
Danielle Ponter, who has been drafted into the Adelaide Crow's AFLW team, with Michael Long and mum Susie Long at TIO Stadium.

Cousin brings Rioli magic to AFLW

AS DANIELLE Ponter celebrated in Darwin after her name was called at the AFL Women's draft, her cousin Cyril arrived to offer his congratulations.

Ponter's selection by the Adelaide Crows at pick No.48 ensures a famous football family spans both the men's and women's game.

With Cyril Rioli her cousin and Michael Long her uncle, Ponter was born to play the game.

"Cyril's my cousin and he's actually just walked in now to congratulate me," Ponter told the Herald Sun.

"All of my family sat with me this morning and watched it with me and supported me, so it was great.

"I grew up pretty close to him (Cyril), when he got drafted I jumped the bandwagon from the Essendon Bombers after I supported my uncle, and followed him to the Hawks.

"I watched him throughout the years and was probably his No.1 supporter.

"I watched a lot of his football and I've tried to incorporate that he plays into my own style of game.

"But there's only so much I can do.

"It's obviously quite special being the first of my family. There were sisters and cousins who did play before and I've learnt a lot off watching them play. To be given the opportunity to play at the highest level is something that I'll do for them, not having the opportunity back then.

"It's quite special being the first girl but I want to bring my style of game and make my own name in AFL."

Danielle Ponter lays a trademark chase-down tackle in Darwin.
Danielle Ponter lays a trademark chase-down tackle in Darwin.

Ponter plays for St Mary's in Darwin and also played a handful of VFLW games for Essendon this season alongside her cousin, Michaela.

Her favourite part of the game is kicking goals and she also hopes to emulate another Rioli trademark, the speccy.

"I've tried a couple and I spoke to my cousins and I'll be like, 'Yeah, set me up for a speccy, set me up' and it doesn't really work out. But one say it will and it'll be great."

Ponter will remain in Darwin and train in the Northern Territory as part of the Crows AFLW program. The team has a partnership with the NT and the team has two training bases, one in Darwin and one in Adelaide.

Danielle Ponter hugs her mum after her name was read out in the AFLW draft.
Danielle Ponter hugs her mum after her name was read out in the AFLW draft.

"I'll stay in Darwin, I think that's the good thing about the AFL and NT partnership is that I get to stay in the company of my own family and do what I love from up here," she said.

Adelaide captain Chelsea Randall said Ponter had X-factor.

"Around goals she's a really sneaky forward and gets the ball in her hands and creates some magic, hopefully she can bring that for us," Randall said.



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