GREATER Western Sydney prime mover Stephen Coniglio has avoided a knee reconstruction, but will undergo surgery on his left knee on Tuesday that will see him spend up to eight weeks on the sidelines.
The 25-year-old sent a major scare through the Giants camp when he pulled up in the opening minutes of Sunday’s 27-point loss to Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with fears he’d ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
He went down and clutched at the left knee he hyperextended a week earlier against Brisbane at Giants Stadium and was helped from the field by trainers.
“There’s obviously relief Stephen has avoided injury to his ACL and there does still remain a chance he returns to the field this season, which is great news,” said GWS football manager Wayne Campbell.
“He’s an incredibly dedicated and professional player, and there’s no doubt he’ll attack his rehab with those same qualities.”
“Stephen underwent scans and assessment following last week’s game, and in consultation with our medical staff and the player himself was cleared to play.”
“Yesterday’s scans showed this is an entirely new injury and separate to the incident last week.”
The loss of Coniglio is a body blow for an out-of-sorts Greater Western Sydney side that is already without co-captain Callan Ward who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the rousing win over Geelong in round four.
Josh Kelly is also out of action with a calf injury, leaving GWS without their top three midfielders for at least another couple of weeks.
Greater Western Sydney have lost four of their past five matches to slip to sixth position on the ladder and desperately need to get the job done against Collingwood at Giants Stadium on Saturday to remain within striking distance of the top four.
A restricted free agent and out of contract at the end of 2019, Coniglio has been linked with a return to his native Western Australia while several Melbourne-based clubs are also vying for his services.
Despite the speculation about his future, Coniglio has been one of the competition’s premier midfielders in 2019.
Prior to Sunday’s setback, the hard-nosed on-baller had averaged a career-high 28.5 possessions to go with 5.5 clearances, 4.3 tackles, 4.2 inside 50s and 15 goals from 14 games.
Coniglio’s absence places even greater responsibility on emerging talents Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper, while star goal-kicker Toby Greene is likely to log high midfield minutes for the foreseeable future.