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Star Giant rejects big-money offers to sign massive seven-year deal

Stephen Coniglio will remain a Giant until 2026 - AFL,GWS Giants,Stephen Coniglio,Contracts,Trade
Stephen Coniglio will remain a Giant until 2026

GREATER Western Sydney has secured the signature of Stephen Coniglio on a landmark seven-year deal.

After protracted contract talks that saw the gun midfielder field multimillion-dollar offers from various clubs including Carlton and Hawthorn, Coniglio will be a Giant until 2026.

It becomes the longest individual deal in Giants history and will keep him at the club until the age of 32.

 

Coniglio's management came to terms with the Giants on Monday night on a deal believed to be in the realms of $1 million a season.

The vice-captain at the Giants, Coniglio is seen as the future skipper after current co-captains Callan Ward and Phil Davis.

"This club has become home for me and in the end the culture and the opportunity are undeniable," Coniglio, 25, said on Tuesday.

"I'm just thrilled to be a Giant for life and keen to continue on our path to becoming an even greater club.

"For me that's the biggest driver and something I'll aspire to do with my next seven-plus years here.

"Clearly I had a lot to weigh up given I was looking to make a long-term commitment. In the end the opportunity here at the Giants to do something unique with some incredible people was just too great to turn down."

Coniglio, who was due to become a restricted free agent at season's end, knocked back more than $1.2 million a season from the Blues and similar money at the Hawks.

Other clubs including St Kilda, Fremantle, West Coast and North Melbourne enquired, but it was the Blues and Hawks who held the strongest hand.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan this month voiced his desire for Coniglio to stay at the competition's newest club, while the Giants have remained steadfast in their confidence to retain him throughout 2019.

The West Australian becomes the latest big-name free agent to announce his intentions to stay at his existing club after the home and away season, following Dustin Martin (Richmond) and Andrew Gaff (West Coast) in the past two seasons. 

Coniglio's commitment to remain as a one-club player is the latest blow to the Hawks and Blues, who have missed big targets in the past three years.

The Hawks have recently chased now-Tiger Tom Lynch, Rory Sloane and Dion Prestia while the Blues have heavily targeted Dylan Shiel and Coniglio's teammate Josh Kelly.

Coniglio joins Kelly, Nick Haynes, Jacob Hopper and Harry Himmelberg among Giants to have extended their stays this season.

Kelly, who is contracted until the end of 2021, has the option to extend long-term should he wish.

Free agent Adam Tomlinson now becomes the next priority signing, with contracted forward Jonathon Patton poised to depart for Hawthorn at season's end.