This is a familiar story, with an exciting new dimension. Softly spoken Danielle Ponter is the niece of Michael Long, and the cousin of Cyril Rioli, and she is on the verge of becoming the first female member of this famous football family to make it to the big-time.
The daughter of Long’s sister Susan, and former St Mary’s stalwart Shane Ponter, the teenager from Darwin spent time with Essendon’s VFLW side this year, joining cousin Michaela Long (Michael’s daughter). Ponter started playing as an 11-year-old in an under-16s competition in Darwin, and hasn’t looked back.
She is now eligible to be drafted by Adelaide through the club’s Northern Territory zone. The combined Long-Rioli family has yielded a long list of AFL footballers, and Ponter wants to make her own mark.
“We grew up pretty close,” she told the Sunday Age. “My cousins I call my brothers and my sisters, because that’s how close we were when we were little. That relationship hasn’t stopped and I don’t think it will.
“It’s good to know what my family has done.