The Northern Territory has had two of its brightest prospects picked up at the NAB AFLW Draft today in Melbourne, with Central Australia’s Jordann Hickey being selected by Melbourne Football Club with pick 31, and Danielle Ponter having her name called by the Adelaide Crows with pick number 48.
Hickey came away from ThunderW’s 2018 inaugural season a highly-decorated player, finishing fourth place in the Club Champion award as well as being named the Rookie of the Year and receiving the Community and Media Award.
Hickey was 19 when she began playing footy in Alice Springs. She first played for the Alkamilya Women’s Football Club in 2016 before making the switch to Rovers for the 2017 CAFL season. In that same season, the Rovers made the preliminary final and Hickey took out the CAFL Women’s Leading Goal Kicker Award with 42 goals.
Going from strength-to-strength on the footy field, Hickey then donned the Double Blue to play for the Darwin Buffettes in the 2017/18 TIO NTFL season, making it to a Grand Final.
After displaying hard work and persistence, Hickey was named in the 2018 NT Thunder VFL Women’s and went on to prove that distance is no barrier, playing all bar one game throughout the season. Averaging a goal a game, she ended the season on 14 games and 14 goals.
Impressively, out of the top five players named in the 2018 NT Thunder Club Champion, Hickey was the only player to have not had AFLW experience.
Ponter is no stranger to success either. The 18-year-old comes from NT football royalty, with both Long and Ponter blood in her.
She started playing footy with St Mary’s in the NTFL as an 11-year-old and went on to win the Sharyn Smith Medal for the best and fairest in the Youth Girls division in four consecutive seasons.
Since being old enough to play in the top division, she has accumulated 18 NTFL Women’s Premier League games for the Saints and kicked 20 goals.
No stranger to representative football either, Ponter first represented the Thunder Devils at the 2014 Youth Girls Championships before going on to represent NT Thunder at more recent Under 18 National Championships.
The 171cm forward/midfielder was also selected for the Central Allies at the Under 18 National Championships and is a past NAB AFL Academy selection.
In 2018 she chose to challenge herself and made a move to Melbourne, where she followed the family football lineage to the Essendon VFL W team.
Before moving back to Darwin to be closer to family, Ponter played six games for the Bombers and kicked six goals to finish in the top three leading goal kickers for the club.
AFLNT Manager of Talent and Pathways, Wally Gallio, said the selection of Hickey and Ponter was a reward for their hard work and commitment.
“There were a few tears shed when Danielle had her name called out today. It’s a true testament of her character to fulfil her dream after facing challenges and setbacks.
“There’s no doubt she has the talent to play at AFLW level but now commences the hard work in preparation of the 2019 AFLW season, and I know she will grab the opportunity placed in front of her with both hands,” he said.
“It is pleasing to see Jordy get the opportunity to showcase her talents at an AFLW club especially off the back of all the hard work and sacrifices she has made the last 18 months and her consistent performances.
“The ThunderW and Pinktails programs were conceived for this very purpose, to get talented Territory players to play at the highest level.
“We’re sure as more time passes and we consolidate our talent pathways, more players from Central Australia and the Top End will be recognised for their commitment to the game of AFL,” Gallio said.
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