GREATER Western Sydney captain Stephen Coniglio has praised the “phenomenal” leadership shown by stand-in skipper Toby Greene, but is not concerned with suggestions that his teammate should take on the role full-time.
Second-year skipper Coniglio has been sidelined since injuring his ankle in the round three loss to Melbourne, with vice-captain Greene stepping up to lead the side in his absence.
The Giants have bounced back from a 0-3 start to the season to win four of the six games where Greene ran out as captain, with the superstar forward kicking 14 goals in that time.
But Greene will now join Coniglio on the sidelines for the next month after fracturing part of his shoulder during the third term of the four-point loss to Richmond.
"He's been amazing. Full credit to him, his performance has just gone up and up. In my opinion he's in the best two or three players in the game,” Coniglio said.
“The way he's led the group has been phenomenal. It's going to hurt not having him there.
"To see his progression, not as a player because he's always been an amazing player, but as a leader and what he's been able to contribute for the club has just been really good to see.”
Coniglio’s leadership came under scrutiny last year as he struggled to produce his best form and the Giants missed the finals after making the 2019 Grand Final.
He became the first captain to be dropped since 1998 when he was omitted for the round 17 clash with the Demons last year.
Coniglio’s absence for part of this year and the Giants’ performances under Greene’s leadership have led to calls for the club to consider a permanent change of captain.
“People outside the club can say what they want, it definitely doesn't bother me,” Coniglio said.
“I've had people say things about me or the club before, and really Toby and myself just want to win for the footy club.
“Whoever is captain or whatever it is, it doesn't matter as long as we're winning and growing as a footy club, and that's all that really matters to me.”
The Giants will have to turn to another captain for the next month with Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper and Lachie Whitfield the only members of the leadership group available for the clash with West Coast on Sunday.
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Coniglio has just begun running as he continues his recovery from a syndesmosis injury. The Giants expect Coniglio to be sidelined for another 4-6 weeks, but the midfielder was reluctant to put a more specific timeframe on his return.
"I'm feeling good. I feel like my recovery is on track now, I'm feeling a lot stronger and have been able to do a lot more,” Coniglio said.
“I've just started running today, so let's hope maybe a month, maybe a little bit longer, we'll wait and see. Particularly with the foot, I don't want to rush it.”