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‘Doesn’t matter who you are’: More Giants stars put on notice

Tim Taranto's spot in the Giants side could be in jeopardy after Leon Cameron said no player was safe next week.

Tim Taranto’s spot in the Giants side could be in jeopardy after Leon Cameron said no player was safe next week.Credit:Getty Images

The Giants midfield improved markedly in Coniglio’s absence but their leader’s experience and cool head could have been valuable in the closing stages of a game in which Cameron bemoaned a lack of composure from his players.

Geelong premiership captain Cameron Ling was critical of Coniglio’s axing, saying it “undermines” the first-season skipper’s leadership.

Ling, who led the Cats to glory in 2011, said Cameron could have made just as big a statement at selection by dropping another senior player instead of the man who they have appointed to be their long-term leader.

“A massive call, I don’t agree with it, Stephen Coniglio, 26 years of age, a lot of offers to go to other teams, he stuck with the club,” Ling said on Channel Seven.

“He was made captain. I would have assumed he will be the captain for the next six or seven years. I feel a decision like this has the risk of undermining his leadership around the club. He hasn’t been going well individually as a player.

“But Stephen Coniglio offers a lot more to that team than just the playing ability, with his leadership, what he is like with his teammates, everything like that. All of those together make him a really important person around the club.

“They haven’t won a premiership in their short history. They are backing in Stephen Coniglio to be the man to lead them to that premiership but a message like this week is something I think undermines the fact that he is going to be that captain, for the next seven or eight years.

“If he was 34 years of age that is a different story. I don’t like it.

In defending the move, Cameron refused to guarantee an automatic recall for Coniglio and warned there could be more stars making way next week.

Star forward Cameron had another lean night, limited to just one goal and 12 possessions. He has kicked just two goals from his past three games.

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Taranto could be under the pump if the Giants recall Coniglio after managing only 15 disposals. His recent form line closely mirrors the two weeks on, two weeks off that is frustrating the coach. That Cameron labelled boom recruit Tom Green’s game “outstanding” does not bode well for Taranto.

“We made that really tough call, a really tough call, and if there has to be more tough calls next week there will be,” Cameron said. “Because our season has been like that. We haven’t turned up all the time.

“When you’re good for two weeks and bad for two weeks you can’t have anyone safe because it’s not consistent enough.

“We’re nowhere near Port Adelaide, Richmond, West Coast, Brisbane – they’ve been terrific.

“For most of this year we’ve been inconsistent. Individuals add up to that team performance. We need to pick our best team for next Friday night against St Kilda.

“If that means there’s players there out of form the last two or three weeks it doesn’t matter who you are.”

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