Hard 2017 sparks Coniglio's Giant AFL lift

Adrian Warren
Stephen Coniglio (right) is using the pain of missing much of last year to fire his 2018 GWS season

A hungry attitude after an injury-marred 2017 campaign has contributed to a super start to the 2018 AFL season for Greater Western Sydney's latest milestone man, Stephen Coniglio.

The GWS vice-captain reaches the 100-game landmark on Saturday against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

The 24-year-old West Australian has been one of the competition's standout midfielders in 2018 after two serious ankle injuries limited him to just 10 games last year.

"It was a tough time on a personal level watching the team play every week and we went through some struggles last year," Coniglio said.

"I look back on it now saying it's probably set me up for this pre-season gone and my early form this season, how I can actually take my game to a new level rather than feeling sorry for myself that I got injured."

Coniglio's work on the offensive side of his game is paying off, having already booted seven goals in four games after bagging 10 in his entire 2017 campaign.

"Over this pre-season I came with a hungry attitude to get better," Coniglio said.

A keen traveller, Coniglio never got homesick but did wonder about the Giants' future after they they won just one game in their second year.

"That second year for me, and for a lot of the core players that are still here, was by far the hardest in terms of 'I don't know if we were getting better or not'," Coniglio said.

He nominated the Giants' first win over Sydney in the opening round of 2014 as the turning point for the club.

Of their successive preliminary final losses, he said the first one against the Bulldogs in 2016 hurt more.

"Last year we were clearly beaten by just a more hungrier (Richmond) side that were better than us on the day and probably the latter end of the season," he said.

"The Bulldogs one, we were a fantastic team, we made a lot of mistakes in the game that did cost us."

Coniglio said GWS still have a lot of room for improvement.

"The next step for the group is just that extra maturity around the big matches," he said.

GWS coach Leon Cameron appreciates Coniglio's desire to contribute offensively and defensively.

"He's a two-way midfielder, in fact, he's probably more defence than offence," Cameron said.