Stephen Coniglio in action during the match between Greater Western Sydney and Essendon at GIANTS Stadium in round 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

STEPHEN Coniglio has literally seen it all in his time at Greater Western Sydney, but the 201-game veteran has echoed the recent sentiment that this team is the most trustworthy in club history and says he knew from his first meeting with new coach Adam Kingsley that something special was bound to happen at the club.

Coniglio's stunning form transformation over the last two seasons was crystallised with his 30-disposal, two-goal semi-final performance against Port Adelaide on Saturday night that included a game-high 13 score involvements.

He has been at the coalface of the Giants' stunning surge in the second half of the season, where they've lost just three of their last 16 games.

There is seemingly no one in football writing off their chances of continuing that golden run against Collingwood in a monster preliminary final on Friday night, most of all Coniglio who could see their premiership window re-opening from his first interaction with Kingsley.

"I realised it was going to be different from the day it was announced (Kingsley's appointment). Toby (Greene), Josh Kelly and I met with him and I walked away so excited," he said.

"Going into an off-season when you want to rest it felt the opposite, it felt like he knew exactly what he wanted to do. It felt different from the start.

"Leon (Cameron) was great, Mark McVeigh was great but what COVID threw up, what happened over the last couple of years with our form, 'Kingers' was able to bring the players and staff in to fall in love with the club again."

Adam Kingsley and Stephen Coniglio during Greater Western Sydney's training session on September 5, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

While the belief never wavered that something magical was possible, not even Coniglio could have dreamed of the mammoth stage they'll be on come Friday night, considering the 3-7 win-loss record they held at the midway point of the season.

The magic of what has transpired has sent the midfield gun back to his first preliminary final since 2017, after missing the 2019 clash with the Pies through injury, alongside his close mate in Greene.

"I remember we were the heavy underdog, I was watching in a box with the players that weren't playing and with about five minutes to go I said it's done we're into a granny. By the time we got down to the ground it looked like we were about to lose. Different memories this time, we'll both be playing," Coniglio said.

"After the weekend just gone and reaching another preliminary final it was great to have a moment after the game and take a pause to remember the last time we were in a similar situation, I wasn't part of it so I'm very blessed to be a member of this squad.

"We're poised to have a really big game on Friday night and anything is possible. 'Why not us?' has been a motto that you've seen, a lot of supporters have been holding it in the stands and it's very much the feeling within the group at the moment."


Despite the club's run to the Grand Final in 2019, Coniglio has echoed the sentiment of his skipper that this current group is the most trustworthy he's ever played with.

"In terms of team, yeah. In terms of the collective, without doubt. We've definitely had a better group before in terms of individuals but the collective in this group is the closest it's been and the most confident I've been in it," he said.

"A lot of our belief has stemmed from our younger guys. Lachie Ash, Finn Callaghan, Tom Green they really have driven this belief. When you've been three and seven, to think that we're in a prelim final now, we did believe it and we did always believe it."


Coniglio has stated that he questioned whether he would ever rediscover his best form again after two lean, injury and form riddled campaigns, in 2020 and 2021.

An honest personal appraisal and simplified approach to his game led to a runner-up finish in the club champion award last season and a superb individual campaign in 2023.

That, however, is far from the mind of a player who is simply focused on getting to his first Grand Final.

"I don't have time to think about that at the moment. I was thinking about tickets yesterday, I've done that and now about recovery and getting ready to see hopefully a lot of orange in the crowd on Friday night and reproducing something similar to what we saw on Friday night against Port," he said.


Now that the football world is well and truly on board with the big, big sound emanating from the west of Sydney town, he's hopeful there'll be plenty of Giants fans at the MCG on Friday night in the same vogue as Adelaide Oval from the weekend.

"We could hear every cheer from the orange tsunami in the crowd. I know there'll be a few black and white supporters but if we can get 20,000 out there that would be awesome."