Coniglio's elevation to vice-captain could be just the start
March 7, 2017 12:21 PM
STEPHEN Coniglio's elevation to vice-captain of Greater Western Sydney for 2017 is further proof that the midfielder is destined for higher leadership honours at the club.
Voted into the leadership group for the first time last year, Coniglio takes over the vice-captaincy from former housemate Heath Shaw, who pushed the onballer's case to coach Leon Cameron when the pair sat down last week.
Shaw will remain part of the seven-man leadership structure alongside co-captains Callan Ward and Phil Davis, who are back for a sixth season in charge, with Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Josh Kelly, another former No.2 draft pick, also on board for the first time.
Defender Matt Buntine drops out of the group after one season.
Cameron said Coniglio had been an impressive young leader since he first arrived at the club as an original Giant, as have most of the club's young stars.
"Stephen has got great character, he's respected by his peers, and he's a really popular person amongst our playing group," he said.
"And it's not just Stephen, it's everyone up here.
"Devon (Smith) captained the team on the weekend (against the Swans), and watching him deal with some situations out there, compared to three or for years ago, was like chalk and cheese.
"Dylan (Shiel) will captain the side (against North Melbourne) this week in Canberra and so on, and Stephen has been through that as well.
"They're all young lads who can play the game, they're bonafide AFL players who can contribute on the field, but they know they want to get outside themselves and look after their teammates as well, and point them in the right direction."
Coniglio was honoured to be given the promotion and being recommended for the role by Shaw was extra humbling, given the pair's close relationship, but the West Australian couldn't resist a dig at the Giants' resident jokester.
"I think 'Shawry' went for the top job but missed out, so he's now at the back of the line," he said with a laugh.
"I think he'll be alright, he was a bit upset but he's fine now.
"I lived with him for three years and what he did for my footy in that time, when I was pretty inconsistent with how I was playing, was teach me how to get a good balance and perform week in, week out.
"It wasn't only on field but he mentored me off-field in a leadership capacity, and I'm very grateful for that."