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Coniglio signs seven-year deal with GWS, rejects rival offers

GWS players responded enthusiastically when told that the midfield star was staying with the club.
Coniglio, who is seen as a future captain of the club, rejected persuasive offers from Hawthorn and Carlton.

Coniglio is close friends with Hawk Jaeger O’Meara. There would also have been appeal to Coniglio at joining the Blues, where he would have reunited with Stephen Silvagni, who drafted him to the Giants and with whom he had a close relationship.

Stephen Coniglio.

Stephen Coniglio.Credit:AAP

The decision will prompt Carlton to refocus their energies on trying to secure Gold Coast’s Jack Martin and Sydney’s Tom Papley.

Coniglio’s signing will please not only GWS, but the AFL hierarchy. AFL boss Gillon McLachlan had put on record his hope that Coniglio would stick with the Giants, comments that incensed senior figures at Carlton.

Coniglio is viewed as the next captain of GWS, which cleared out salary cap space last year to help the club retain Coniglio and fellow midfielder Josh Kelly, who has the guarantee of an eight-year contract extension starting from the end of 2020 should he choose to stick with the club.

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The Giants hope that securing Coniglio – whom they view as highly influential in their playing group – will help them to retain both key forward Jeremy Cameron and brilliant running midfielder Lachie Whitfield, who are coming out of contract at the end of next year.

“This club has become home for me and in the end the culture and the opportunity are undeniable,” Coniglio told the Giants’ website.

“I’m just thrilled to be a Giant for life and keen to continue on our path to becoming an even greater club. For me that’s the biggest driver and something I’ll aspire to do with my next seven plus years here.

“Clearly I had a lot to weigh up given I was looking to make a long-term commitment. In the end the opportunity here at the Giants to do something unique with some incredible people was just too great to turn down.”

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Coach Leon Cameron said it was no surprise that Coniglio was “highly-valued” across the AFL.

“There is no doubt our players walk taller when he’s by their side and his focus on giving back to the game is extraordinary,” he said.

“By pledging his long-term future to the Giants he’s speaking volumes as to where this club is headed and we’re delighted he’ll be central to that for many years to come.”

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