Under-pressure Coniglio to return via VFL

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GWS captain Stephen Coniglio will return via the reserves on Saturday, with coach Leon Cameron predicting the midfielder will reap long-term leadership benefits from another frustrating AFL season.

Coniglio's first season as skipper was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons; he became the first AFL/VFL captain to be dropped in 22 years while the Giants failed to reach the 2020 finals.

The star then required surgery after damaging ankle and toe ligaments in round three this season.

Coniglio, who hasn't played since April 4, will sit out this weekend's AFL clash with Melbourne but has been given the green light to make his comeback in the VFL against Casey Demons.

Jesse Hogan is also returning from injury via the VFL, but Sam Taylor will spend another week on the sidelines.

Cameron also made some big selection calls based on form, recalling Shane Mumford, Lachie Ash and Tom Green to his AFL side at the expense of young ruckman Kieren Briggs and veteran duo Matt de Boer and Sam Reid.

"There have been some really tough decisions this week but we felt we needed to reward some younger players," Cameron said.

Conilgio's absence has overlapped with stand-in skipper Toby Greene finding career-best form, prompting Matthew Lloyd to suggest the small forward should lead the Giants on a full-time basis.

"The pressure in terms of the captaincy, I just keep confirming that having more leaders at our club is an unbelievably good thing," Cameron said.

"The stuff you don't see behind the scenes that Stephen is doing is hard.

"He's been unbelievably good.

"It's been a great development year for him as captain, even though the frustration of not being out there has been there.

"What you see with Toby, on the surface on weekends, is a by-product of how Cogs is helping throughout the week."

Coniglio's low-key return is no surprise given he has spent 13 weeks on the sidelines.

It remains unclear whether the on-baller will rediscover his best in 2021 but Cameron is bullish.

"I'm really confident that Stephen will get back and play some really great footy at some time this year," he said.

"I say the same thing about Jesse Hogan. I see the body of work throughout the week, that's why the confidence is high.

"He's coming off two really nasty injuries and probably going into this game, (at) 85 per cent, but what's really exciting is he gets to play again... he just needs probably a week or two to get his footy fitness up."

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