Swans flag inspired Coniglio to stay at Giants
GWS Giants captain Stephen Coniglio admits he nearly walked out on the club last year to head to a rival Victorian team.
Instead he signed a five year deal with the expansion club and last December assumed the captaincy from Phil Davis and Callan Ward, and looks set to be a one club player.
He drew on his experiences and memories with Swan Districts in his formative years as a premiership player in 2010 to arrive at the decision to stay with the Giants.
“Yeah I did think of leaving,” Coniglio told Sports Drive on Wednesday.
“I didn’t want it to drag out as long as it did, but for a long period of last year I was walking around the corridors thinking this is it, this is my last year for the footy club.”
“I drew on the Swan Districts premiership, seeing what it means to so many more people then yourself, and I know I would’ve regretted not staying here at the Giants.”
Hawthorn and Carlton were both keen on the 26-year old’s services, but the desire to remain a one club player overpowered those thoughts and offers elsewhere.
“In the end when you dial it back you can leave for more money, and maybe better opportunities but for me with friends that I now call family at this club, maybe I can look back one day and say I was a one club player and helped build this for start and be a premiership player at the footy club. That would be a better script for other reasons.”
Coniglio captained the side for the first time in round one this year against Geelong, kicking two goals in a strong showing at an empty Giants Stadium.
With the season now in recess due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coniglio reflected on his first up game as captain and the uniqueness of the situation.
“It was a bizarre experience, definitely one to remember for sure,” he said.
“You obviously have reasons why you play football, but we love our fans and the support they give us, it was difficult to not have our friends and family there that night and familiar faces in the crowd.
“Hopefully sooner rather than later we’re back out there and there’s a full set of orange in the stadium.”
Coniglio played in a premiership for Swan Districts as a 16-year-old in 2010, the second youngest player in WAFL history to win a premiership medallion before being drafted to the Giants in November 2011.
He said the years at Swans helped shape his football journey.
“For me it’s a special moment in my life. In the last few years, I’ve started to appreciate it a lot more, it’s always been the favourite game and the best thing I’ve done in my career. To be able to win a premiership and I aspire and hope that it happens very soon at the Giants,” Coniglio said.
“To hold on to that, it’s something great for me and my family. My little brother wore the number three after me at the club and for him to carry that through is something I’m very proud of to look back on.”
“I met so many great people around the footy club, it was a blessing for me and I learnt so much. It helped get me to where I am today.”
IMAGES: AFL NSW/ACT, The West Australian.