GREATER Western Sydney star Stephen Coniglio has received an early win in Grand Final week, taking out the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award for his outstanding contribution in the community.
Announced at Monday night's Brownlow Medal function at the Crown Palladium, the award celebrates a player whose influence on the game extends beyond the football field.
Coniglio certainly fits that bill with his tireless work across a range of programs that involve the multicultural communities of western Sydney.
Stephen Coniglio with Giants coach Leon Cameron after the preliminary final. Picture: AFL Photos
The 25-year-old is an outside chance of returning from a knee injury in time to play in Saturday's decider against Richmond at the MCG.
"Definitely hopeful, it's been a magic run thus far and to be honest, I've got a big 24, 48 hours ahead of me, but my body's feeling great," Coniglio said.
The Giants will hope Coniglio's award is a positive omen as they attempt to claim the club's first premiership.
Coniglio has worked closely with the NSW Government to develop the Coniglio-Farrugia Community Program.
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He holds ambassadorial roles with the Fairfield Falcons Football Club, All Nations Cup, Bachar Houli programs and the Lighthouse Community Support program, to promote AFL and social cohesion in western Sydney.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said he was proud of what Coniglio had achieved during his time at the Giants.
"Stephen is an outstanding role model and his passion and commitment for growing the game at all levels is truly impressive," McLachlan said.
"His engagement with the diverse communities of western Sydney, along with the Giants and the team at AFL NSW/ACT, is to be commended.
"This award is much deserved recognition for Stephen’s dedication over the past eight years."
Matisse and Tiernan Stynes present the award named after their father Jim. Picture: AFL Photos
The three other finalists for the award were Carlton AFLW player Jessica Hosking, Geelong's Jamaine Jones and former Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak.
Hosking runs her own independent charity 2Boots and volunteers her time with key community organisations, Interplast and Cleft Pals Victoria.
Jones was recognised for his work with the Barwon Child Youth and Family's Foster Care Campaign along with his contribution to Geelong's Dilang Program, which has seen him work alongside traditional land owners and Aboriginal community members to encourage cultural connection for young people across the Barwon region.
Boak has been an ambassador with the Childhood Cancer Association since 2010, spending more than 300 hours with 300 children during 140 hospital appearances in the past decade.
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Past winners include Neville Jetta (2018), Jack Hombsch (2017), Jimmy Bartel (2016), Dennis Armfield (2015), Beau Waters (2014), Zac Smith (2013) and Daniel Jackson (2012).