GREATER Western Sydney midfielder Stephen Coniglio is taking it upon himself to be the inside specialist his team needs in 2014 after the departures of Taylor Adams and Dom Tyson.

After an inconsistent second season, Coniglio has enjoyed his best summer since joining the Giants as the No.2 pick in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft, wiping 20 seconds off his 3km time trial.

It is in tight, however, where the 20-year-old said he could be most valuable for the Giants this year after another pre-season adding weight and building strength.

"You've got to win the hard ball first before you can do anything and this year that'll be one of my goals, to make sure I get better at that," he told

"Callan Ward does it every week for us, and along with Dylan Shiel and Adam Treloar I think we really need to step up in that department.

"Losing Dom Tyson, who was an inside specialist, and Taylor Adams, who loves the grunt and loves being inside, we need to take it to the next level.

"Another year in the gym, we'll be physically stronger and won't be pushed over as easily as some of our midfielders probably have been in our first two years."

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After 31 games in two seasons, Adams returned to his home state and joined Collingwood in a swap for premiership half-back Heath Shaw, while Tyson was traded to Melbourne in a deal that landed the Giants pick No.2 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft.

While the talented pair left a hole in the Giants' midfield, the club used its pick No.2 to select elite junior Josh Kelly, who has already shown "his skills are possibly better than anyone else at the footy club".   

Coniglio said Treloar and Dylan Shiel had been other standouts and the midfielders were ready to make a jump this season, with defensive running a focus.

Under new coach Leon Cameron, he said the team wanted their opposition to walk off the field "tired, battered and bruised", regardless of the result.

"We've grown up in teams where we were always the hit-to player and our offence was very good, so we didn't have to worry too much about defence," he said.  

"But coming to an AFL environment, if you want to be an elite midfielder you need to run both ways.

"We're aware there's a very talented group here, but talent in the AFL only gets you so far."

Patton set to put mental demons to rest

Coniglio suffered patella tendonitis in his first season at GWS and stress fractures in his back leading into 2013, restricting his first two pre-seasons.

He has enjoyed a full preparation this year, however, and said the gains were obvious.

"I think the jump from the second year to third year has been completely different from first to second year," he said.  

"With another pre-season in the gym, and doing pilates and other rehab things, you can definitely see the gains.

"As great as it is playing every week against your idols for the first two years, it's as much about the education that comes with it.

"To put that into practice this year, hopefully they will be the gains."

Twitter: @AFL_Nathan