AFTER a season marred by fitness and form woes, GWS captain Stephen Coniglio must find a way to inspire his side in the absence of his superstar teammate Toby Greene.

Coniglio is still building towards his best after ankle and toe injuries disrupted much of his season, but he's running out of time to have a significant on-field influence this year.

The Giants, too, are searching for a role where their skipper can make an impact. Coniglio, a midfield star of the competition at his best, has been sent to the forward line for more than two-thirds of his playing time since returning from injury.

The 27-year-old is a proven threat in attack, averaging a goal a game in both 2018 and 2019, while spending at least 68 per cent of each of those seasons in the midfield, according to Champion Data's numbers. 

>> CHECK OUT CONIGLIO'S FULL STATS BREAKDOWN BELOW

But Coniglio has failed to kick a major or create a goal assist in his three games since round 18, even while playing predominantly as a forward. His best return is two behinds after coming on as a medical sub against Carlton in round 23.

GWS skipper Stephen Coniglio takes a shot at goal against Carlton in round 23, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Coniglio also isn't using the ball as well in recent weeks as he has in the past, his 11 disposals in the elimination final against Sydney coming at 46 per cent efficiency and including four turnovers.

He has at least continued to provide plenty of forward pressure and tackling intensity, and had six tackles against the Swans last week, with three of those inside the forward 50.

"For me personally it's not about going out there and getting 30 touches, it's about going to play my role and contribute and do the little things that will affect the group,” Coniglio said on Wednesday.

"In my usual position at the moment, in the midfield, the boys are humming and are playing some fantastic footy.

"So for me, whatever role I'm given I'm just giving my best and doing it to the best of my ability.”

Stephen Coniglio and Toby Greene after Greater Western Sydney's win over Geelong in R21, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

It would be unfair to expect an underdone Coniglio to play similar midfield minutes or have the sort of impact he did in 2018-19. He averaged 27.4 disposals across those two seasons, and earned himself the captaincy and a seven-year deal reportedly worth $1 million per season at the end of 2019.

The Giants’ midfield has evolved in Coniglio’s absence too. It now centres around the much-improved Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto, has Callan Ward and Josh Kelly back in regular on-ball roles, and gives more responsibility to Tom Green (now injured) and Lachie Ash.

But with their talismanic forward Greene suspended for the rest of the season and their finals hopes on the line in a semi-final against Geelong, the Giants now need their captain to find a way to not only lead as he always does, but inspire with his deeds in the forward half.

WHERE COGS FITS IN GIANTS' MACHINE 

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 R1-3

2021 R18-FW1

Matches

23

15

16

3

3

Goals

24

15

5

1

0

Time in midfield (per cent)

72.9

68.1

76.4

72.3

32.4

Time up forward (per cent)

25.9

31.9

23.2

27.7

67.6

Contested disposals (ave)

11.2

9.6

10.9 *

7.7

7.3

Uncontested disposals (ave)

17.1

16.6

15.4 *

9.7

7.3

Disposal efficiency (per cent)

66.6

64.4

64.4

64.2

55.6

* 2020 averages multiplied by 1.25 to account for shorter quarters

All stats provided by Champion Data