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Ponter creates history

BTV:VFLW | Season Recap Natasha Hardy, Rebecca Neaves and captain Lisa Williams recap Essendon's inaugural VFLW season.

18-year-old key forward Danielle Ponter has become the first Essendon VFL Women’s player to be drafted onto an AFL Women’s list.

The foundation Bomber nominated South Australia as her preferred state and was duly taken by Adelaide with their fourth-round pick, selection 48.

Surrounded by friends and family at the St Mary’s Football Club in Darwin, the niece of Essendon legend Michael Long realised her dream of making the national competition.

“I had had a chat with Adelaide and [coach] Matt Clarke and they gave me the heads-up that they were looking to draft me, which gave me a bit of confidence,” Ponter said.

“I was still quite nervous though.”

After winning the inaugural AFL Women’s flag, the Crows slipped down the ladder to fifth place in 2018 as key forward Sarah Perkins struggled with injury. Ponter’s recruitment gives Adelaide the chance to add some weaponry in front of goal.

“I’m looking forward to playing at the highest standard and also to being in a more professional environment,” says Ponter.

Ponter will stay at Adelaide’s Darwin base to train during the season and fly out with the team on match days.

“That’s a good thing about that partnership, I can stay at home and do my training at home.

“But I’m still looking forward to meeting the girls.”

Given the amount of support Ponter has received from her family in the long journey between the Territory, Victoria and now South Australia that has been her career, it was fitting that her mother was the first person to embrace the new Crow upon her drafting.

“My family has been a major support system,” the Northern Territorian said.

Ponter kicked six goals in as many games in Essendon’s inaugural VFL Women’s season.

Essendon VFL Women’s coach Brendan Major spoke in no uncertain terms of the potential that Ponter possesses.

“I think it’s a great choice by them,” Major said.

“I think she will be a standout AFL player, she’s exceptionally skilled and really competitive.”

Ponter’s drafting closes the book on the maiden season of Essendon’s first women’s side. To Major, it is fitting that the club’s focus on development has seen a youngster blossom into a player at the highest level.

“We just afforded her the environment to grow and show her value.”