GREATER Western Sydney captain Stephen Coniglio has dismissed claims from former teammate Brett Deledio that his side are playing as "a bunch of 22 individuals versus a collective team".
Deledio’s comments about the club he played with for three years came after the Giants dropped their second consecutive game, in a 20-point loss to Brisbane on Saturday.
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"I’m really good friends with Brett and we loved having him as part of the Giants. He’s entitled to his own opinion, and from the outside he’s probably not the only one that shares that view," Coniglio told reporters on Monday.
"But that collective approach and playing for one another is something that we do pride ourselves on. There are other elements in our game that I think are costing us more than playing as individuals."
The 26-year-old midfielder identified contested possessions, ball movement and defence as the focus for the Giants to improve on, but said he is confident it will come as these areas are "usually our one-wood".
"It’s the things you don’t just lose overnight or over the course of a season. It’s in-built and the way we’ve been taught and played," Coniglio said.
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"It’s just about finding ways to spark that back and completing our Giants game that we’ve become accustomed to for the last couple of years.
"We want to get back to our winning ways more than anyone. That’s hurting us at the moment, that we’re not living up to our own expectations, but we’ll get back there."
Coniglio was under extra pressure to perform well in the match against Brisbane after reports that his place in the side had come under question by some within the club, but produced his best display of the year and had 27 touches.
"My performance over the past few weeks hadn’t been up to my own level or expectation, and probably that of the coaches as well," Coniglio admitted.
"I knew it would only be time until that turned around, but the turn around to try to get a win, for me, is more important."
The first-year captain also admitted that he’s made some mistakes this year but is ready to learn from them.
"It’s definitely up to me to use the [senior] guys around me a little bit more. A lot of the time I’ll take on things, not be afraid to ask for help, but at times shy away from that and do a lot on my own," Coniglio said.
"So, for me, I think just sharing the load a little bit more, giving guys a little bit more to do, is one thing I think I can learn from this experience."
GWS will face Richmond at Giants Stadium on Friday night, in a rematch of the Grand Final that turned out to be a dark day.
Coniglio didn’t play in the 89-point Grand Final loss due to a knee injury, but said he always looks forward to "playing the best sides, and Richmond have clearly, over the last three years, been the best side".
"I’m not sure how each member of our group will approach this week. The fact that it’s not a round one or round two game probably takes the Grand Final rematch away from that," he added.
"We just want to get the win against them on Friday night and get back to our winning ways."