Top gun: Why a young Crow is 'racking up frequent flyer points'

EMERGING Adelaide youngster Danielle Ponter has covered plenty of ground on the field this season, but that's nothing compared to the distance she clocks up in the air each week.

A typical week for Ponter, drafted by the Crows with pick 48 in last year's NAB AFLW Draft, is especially hectic.

The Darwin-based 18-year-old spends Monday-Wednesday in the Northern Territory, before flying south to Adelaide on Thursday to train with teammates and prepare for the game on the weekend. If the Crows are playing away, there’s another flight to take.

The process is then completed the after the game; while her teammates head home to Adelaide, Ponter jets back to Darwin where she works in administration for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.

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"There's a lot of time on the plane, racking up frequent flyer points," Ponter said with a laugh. 

"But I'm pretty comfortable with it now. I get myself into a routine and now it wouldn't be normal if I didn't have to fly before a game so I'm definitely used to it." 

Ponter has come into her own in the last fortnight, with a move from defence to attack yielding four goals in two games and a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination after round four. 

She has developed a close on-field bond with AFLW leading goalkicker Stevie-Lee Thompson, with the pair combining nicely for four goals against North Melbourne in Werribee last weekend. 

The connection extends off-field too, with Ponter staying with Thompson in Adelaide when she’s there for training.

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"We're both from the Territory and I grew up training alongside her, watching her and then I got drafted to the same team," said, Ponter, the niece of Essendon great Michael Long and cousin of recently retired Hawthorn champion Cyril Rioli. 

"I've been staying at her house so we've got a very good connection and I guess it shows on field." 

Thompson, 27 later this month, has been a terrific mentor for Ponter. 

"Me and my partner (Karlee) crack jokes that she's like our daughter and (Adelaide co-captain) Chelsea Randall says she's her godmother… it's a bit of a running joke around the club at the moment," Thompson said.

"Hopefully I'll be able to help her with anything she requires. She was pretty shy at the start that's for sure, but she told me recently that staying with us is like (being in) Darwin, so that's a good thing."

Thompson has high hopes for Ponter, predicting she could become a genuine star. 

"She is one talented girl and I just love her composure in the forward line," Thompson said.

"I dream of having that composure."

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