It was another challenging season for GWS Giants skipper Stephen Coniglio. He battled through injuries but ended the season with his lowest game tally. But, entering into 2022, he’s fit, firing, and with recently added MID/FWD DPP, he;’s primed to be one of the best selections for coaches in 2022.

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Stephen Coniglio
Age: 28
Club: GWS Giants
Position: MID/FWD

2021 Highest Score: 
92 Vs Fremantle (AFLFantasy)
92 Vs Sydney (SuperCoach)

Career Highest Score: 
192 Vs Gold Coast | AFLFantasy (2019)
207 Vs Gold Coast | SuperCoach (2019)

2021 Average: 
59 (AFLFantasy)
60 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $261,300
AFLFantasy Price: 
$695,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$402,500

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

2021 didn’t go to plan for Stephen Coniglio. Everything went pear-shaped after starting the season in an OK fashion when he injured his ankle. He wasn’t then seen at AFL until four months later. By the time he got back, he had struggled to find full fitness and wasn’t used by Leon Cameron playing heavy forward 50 minutes. So while frustrating in 2021, it was the very cause that has allowed cogs to be a MID/FWD in 2022.

At his best, Cogs is one of the most well-rounded fantasy footballers of the past few seasons. He has no problems winning the ball inside or outside the contest; he applies high intensity, tackles, and pressure. And when he does go forward, his ability to create scoreboard impact is sensational. Over the years, he’s shown he’s a difficult match up both on the lead and at the feet of the Giants tall forwards.

Generally, in these articles, I look back at a players most recent season. And we could do that for Stephen. Even with the injuries and the poor role, he still had multiple games of 80+ including stuff in the ’90s. Instead, everything about last year feels like an outlier when put in contrast to what he’s done over the previous decade of his AFL career.

In 2020 he missed just one game; in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he averaged 78 (98.5 adjusted average) and scored one pure ton and eight additional scores of 80+. Remember that in these shorter games, these formats viewed the 80’s as tons. His SuperCoach season returned at an average of 98 from sixteen of the seventeen possible games. He scored nine tons, including 121 & 141.

The year prior, in 2019, from 15 games in AFLFantasy, he had nine scores over the ton, including four over 120. That number may look small. However, when you drill into those 120+ scores, he goes on and converts them into monster scores. 126, 146, 161 and 192 was what he delivered when getting over 120. Over in SuperCoach, he joined the elite company of scoring over 200. He did this in round 11 against the Gold Coast Suns with a 207. Across the season, he had nine tons and four over 130.

The value of Coniglio in SuperCoach and DreamTeam cannot be understated. We’re getting a player who, over the better part of a decade, is a proven 90-110 performer. If luck breaks coaches’ way, he could be the best value premium of the 2022 season for coaches that start with him.

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MY TAKE

Every year I play these ‘classic’ aka salary cap formats, I still get surprised by how people approach these games. One of the biggest things I notice is how quickly a narrative about a player takes off. For example, ‘Stephen Coniglio’ has been injury-prone for years. But in 2020, he played sixteen of a possible seventeen games, and the one he missed, he was dropped. So has he had a few seasons of poor luck? Sure, but just 18 months ago, he’d had zero issues physically.

The news coming out of the club is very promising. Coach Leon Cameron spoke to the on the AFL website stating,’ We haven’t had a game yet but in the mini-match practises we’re having, he’s moving freely, he’s covering the ground (well), he’s fit.’ He went on further and said that Cogs’ confidence is starting. Ultimately, this is everything we could have asked for regarding his health and availability.

Additionally, the coach has mooted his role that he will spend upwards of 80% of his time on the ground as a midfielder. Should that eventuate, I cannot see a score across the formats under 90. That makes him someone you cannot afford to miss in nearly every format.

The conversation in SuperCoach is simple. He’s just over $50,000 more expensive than Jason Horne-Francis. To get a proven performer of multiple 100+ seasons at this price point. Don’t overcomplicate it. Just pick him. In DreamTeam, if you need a stepping stone in the $400k range and have considered options like Matt Rowell, then Cogs needs to be on that same watchlist. In this format, he’s not as obvious a selection as this price point, more because not everyone needs a player at this range in their starting squads.

I’m not a fan of his pricing in AFLFantasy; I understand what they do and why; I just don’t like it. Regardless, he still has some fat on the bone’ regarding cash generation. Priced at the early ’80s, he could give coaches anywhere from ten to twenty points per game of value. And if not, this format may be more accessible than others. He can be used as a pivot point to the breakout option dominating and playing the breakeven game.

Nobody should be looking at Cogs as a premium to hold for the season. He absolutely could do that, but instead, I’d be planning to move him on and then be pleasantly surprised if his scoring and availability combine to create a premium output.

DRAFT DECISION

If you’ve already been involved in a mock draft, you’ll know this to be true. The forward line stacks out quickly and quite poorly. It’s why a player like Cogs needs to be seriously considered. On the Draft Doctors mock draft simulator, he’s currently being taken at an ADP OF 59. That’d make him a great value late F1 or F2 depending on how you like to structure your drafts. I think he’ll be one of the better forwards this year. I’d happily select him in rounds 4-6.

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