STEPHEN Coniglio was officially unveiled as Greater Western Sydney's new captain on Tuesday, but exiting skippers Phil Davis and Callan Ward handed him the baton during an off-season holiday weeks ago.
Coniglio, the Giants' first sole captain since the club entered the competition, has been viewed as the captain-in-waiting virtually from the day he was drafted with pick No.2 behind Jon Patton in 2011.
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He is also just the fourth GWS player to take on the captaincy after Davis, Ward and inaugural co-captain Luke Power.
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It’s been an incredible honour to lead this amazing football club for 8 years. Making it even more special is the fact that I have been able to do it alongside Cal who is just an unbelievable human and leader. But the time has come for the next chapter, a new leader of this club and there is no one better to take us into the future than Stephen. Can’t wait to run out behind him for 2020 and beyond. Thank you to everyone for their support across the last 8 years and looking forward to a fair few more years ahead. Go Giants
The 25-year-old is much-loved at GWS and turned his back on massive offers to leave the club when he signed a seven-year contract extension earlier this year.
Davis and Ward – who were the longest serving captains in the competition this season (along with Geelong's Joel Selwood) - announced their decision to stand down over dinner in the United States.
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The rest of the Giants squad and staff were told of the change on Monday.
Coniglio thanked Davis and Ward for the selfless way they've led the Giants over their first eight seasons in the League.
"It speaks volumes for the people they are, they were here from such a young age representing our playing group and setting high standards," he said.
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"For the boys to do the co-captaincy thing for as long as they did, there wouldn't be too many organisations where two guys can come together for that long and jell so well."
The star midfielder said his latest accolade was one he was extremely proud of.
"It's a massive honour for me, but not only for me, for my parents and my family who have made some massive sacrifices (for me)," he said.
"To see the reaction from a lot my teammates and staff on Monday was great for me."
Just like the way they play their footy, Davis and Ward brought vastly different styles to their captaincy, and Coniglio is expecting to do the same.
He knows what type of skipper he wants to be: "A winning one," he said with a laugh.
"As a captain and a player, that's why we're here. We're here to win.
"We've been able to forge a really strong club and we've been to four finals series in a row, and we want success at this footy club.
"That’s really important to me, as is continuing the really strong culture we have."
An outstanding eight years as co-captains!— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) December 3, 2019
Thank you @phildavis_1 and Cal Ward for everything you’ve done, and the huge role you’ve played in making this club what it is today #NeverSurrender pic.twitter.com/QlIATTiiMS
Davis said on Tuesday that both he and Ward knew a day would come when they would hand the captaincy to someone else, and the time was right.
"Cal and I have had an amazing time together, the eight years we've had captaining this footy club is something we both hold very dear to our hearts," he said.
"We're very proud and very humbled to have had the opportunity."