‘Explosive’ $7m man bombshell rocks AFL
The AFL world is reeling from the news GWS has reportedly dropped captain Stephen Coniglio for Saturday's game against Melbourne.
Foxfooty.com.au's Tom Morris exclusively revealed today the Giants have axed their under-performing skipper for the must-win game after a string of lacklustre performances - the first time since John Worsfold at West Coast in 1998 a captain has been dropped.
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Coniglio took over from Phil Davis as captain in 2020 but his personal struggles have mirrored those of his team, which is sitting eighth with two games to play.
Last year the midfielder turned down big-money offers from Carlton and Hawthorn to ink a monster $7 million, seven-year deal to remain a Giant for life. But he's been woefully out of form this season and coach Leon Cameron was forced to take drastic action.
Speaking on SEN Breakfast, Essendon legend Tim Watson said dropping Coniglio was an "explosive" call.
"Is that a statement or what?" Watson said. "That's explosive and if he (Cameron) wants a reaction and wants to shake up his team, that's going to do it for sure.
"That's not just a waking up in the morning and reacting to somebody and what they can't do. That's something that you've been thinking about as a coaching staff for a period of time.
"That is massive, massive news. Your captain, your leader. Right now, what do they need?
"You've got Phil Davis sitting on the sidelines, he's not going to come back this year.
"Now you've dropped your skipper for a super important game too."
Melbourne champion Garry Lyon was equally as stunned.
"Wow, that's a statement from Leon Cameron," he said. "I thought Stephen Coniglio was one of the best young leaders. Well he is, but it doesn't make you immune from a form slump.
"When it's from the top down and your leader is dropped, then it does sharpen everyone else from the top down.
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"It's a really gutsy, brave move. The bottom line is, it will all depend on what happens in the next two weeks. That's why it's gutsy.
"Leon Cameron and his (coaching) group would know that team and how they've been playing much better than we do and what he asks of his players much better than anyone else in the footy world would do.
"If that's what he sees then good on him for having the courage to do it.
"No one is assured of a game at GWS right now. Seven years he (Coniglio) recommitted to at around $7 million, is the report, but you've got to still deliver otherwise you are not guaranteed a spot."
The shock selection move comes after GWS lost to the bottom-of-the-ladder Crows by 12 points on Tuesday night.
It was just Adelaide's second win of the season and left the Giants' finals hopes teetering on the edge, leading Cameron to be heavily critical of his midfield.
"Our clearance work and our contested brand has been at the forefront of our last four years. That hasn't been there since we resumed play in round two," Cameron said.
"We lost our hunger and we lost our hunt around the contest. We've got it back in patches but we haven't had it consistently.
"It's not good enough. Our midfield, again, let us down. We didn't deserve to win tonight."
Champion Data ranks Coniglio 64th out of the 76 midfielders to have played five or more games in 2020, and he is 70th in the league for score involvements per game.
Originally published as 'Explosive' $7m man bombshell rocks AFL