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The dilemma facing Coniglio and the Giants


GWS captain Stephen Coniglio has had to endure a difficult few seasons.

The 27-year-old played just seven games in 2021 due to ankle and toe injuries having missed his side’s finals campaign in 2019 and seeing his debut season as skipper in 2020 also cut down.

As a result of his injuries his form has tapered since his superb 2018 campaign which eventually led to a lucrative seven-year deal and the club’s captaincy.

Given Coniglio’s struggles of late, talk continues to circle around a potential return to his home state of Western Australia with Fremantle the club most frequently bandied around.

It presents a potentially tricky situation for both club and player. If he is not performing at his best on such big money, should the Giants consider moving him on?

Former GWS list manager Stephen Silvagni knows both sides of the coin quite well and can understand why there is a natural link to a WA return given the situation.

“I really rate Steve,” he told AFL Trade Radio.

“The last couple of years injuries haven’t helped him so he needs to make sure he gets his body right again.

“They would know where that’s at better than what I do. Is he a chance to go back to Western Australia? There’s always a chance if you come from that state.”

Silvagni suggests Coniglio would need to get back to his best as a midfielder to vindicate his pay packet, presenting somewhat of a dilemma.

“They’ve so many good players and when you see him not playing in the midfield - and that’s where he’s played his best football - and now he’s sort of playing as a small forward, it’s probably a lot of money to be playing him as a small forward,” he added.

“Not being a really big goal kicker in a sense that he’s almost wasted a little bit.

“I know he’s the type of person that will back himself, he’s a ripping person, trains really hard and he’s respected.

“It could be a decision that the club and he make together. In an ideal world if he was at his best and was able to get back to his best football, they’d want to keep him.

“If he’s playing at the capacity he is at the minute they’d like to see him move on.”

Tim Watson and Garry Lyon also discussed the situation on SEN Breakfast, referring to Silvagni’s comments.

Watson said: “It’s a good point that he makes and that is when they extended his contract and gave him a great contract, they would have been paying him at that time to be the midfielder, wouldn’t they?

“He’s slipped out of their best midfield combination.”

Lyon added: “It’s an interesting one isn’t it, because at his very best…

“I used to love Stephen Coniglio, I used to think he was absolutely elite. I just think injuries have had a really big impact on what he’s done over the past couple of years.

“I don’t know whether I’d rush to get him out the door right now. I think I’d have another look at him for another year on that money.

“If he could start training now for next year and have an uninterrupted run, then I don’t think it’s over for him in terms of getting back to that really elite level.

“That’s just my opinion.”

Coniglio, who has played 156 games over 10 seasons, is contracted with the Giants until 2026.

Greater Western Sydney

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