Stephen Coniglio’s progression from highly-rated youngster to AFL leader has taken another step with his promotion to Greater Western Sydney’s vice-captaincy.
The star midfielder replaces Heath Shaw in the role after the veteran defender decided to stand aside, with co-captains Phil Davis and Callan Ward retaining their positions for the sixth-straight year.
Coniglio, 23, has played 85 games since being drafted with pick two before the Giants’ inaugural year in 2012.
“From day one, with a number of other guys, we’ve always wanted to chase success and the quickest path to get there is trying to help others to get on board,” Coniglio told reporters on Tuesday.
“That’s a way of leadership and something I’ve really tried to hone down in the last couple of years.”
Shaw maintains a spot in the seven-man leadership group, along with young stars Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Josh Kelly, while Matt Buntine drops out.
Coniglio, who captained the side in a pre-season clash last year, is contracted at least until the end of the 2019 season.
Coach Leon Cameron said Davis and Ward’s retention of the co-captaincy since 2012 showed the club was settled heading into the season as premiership favourite.
Shaw was happy to relinquish his duties, Cameron said.
“Myself and Heath had a discussion last week about it,” Cameron said.
“It was actually Heath’s suggestion to say he thought it’s time for one of these young guys to come up and take that extra responsibility, which I agreed.
“To have Phil and Callan lead our club for the sixth year in a row is a great sign of stability.”
Meanwhile, Cameron confirmed prized recruit Brett Deledio would miss at least the first two matches of the season with a calf injury.
“He’s definitely going to miss round one and two,” Cameron said.
“He’s really confident he can get back on track. He had six really good weeks (in pre-season), so that’s the confidence I have in him actually rebounding from this.
“Yes, he’s had a few setbacks. We’re not going to hide away from that.”