As done in previous seasons, the bargain and breakouts segment is one that highlights a player falling in either of those categories, and we begin 2018’s series with an interesting midfielder out of Greater Western Sydney.
2017 Average: 91.4
2016 Average: 105.9
You may already be asking, how can Stephen Coniglio be a bargain at the price of $452,400. But in a competition dominated by midfielders, that price is reasonably cheap for what he is worth.
I’ve always had a keen eye for Coniglio heading into a new season, taken with the second pick in the 2011 draft he has made severe impacts to a team filled with young stars.
Last year, he dealt with a nagging ankle injury to start the year and we didn’t see him in action until round seven. However, he only managed to take the field again the following week, before he was hit with the same injury in a devastating blow.
The midfielder did the correct rehab and got his turn again late in the season. He played the final five matches of the year for an average of 94 and a high score of 120 against the Demons in Round 20.
What caught my eye was what happened in the following weeks. After consecutive games under his belt for the first time in almost 12 months, Coniglio went into the finals series full of confidence. He was a standout in his sides’ qualifying final loss to the crows, collecting 27 disposals and 11 tackles for 132 points, followed by a 35-disposal performance the following week blowing away the Eagles in a semi-final. Unfortunately, his 24-possession game against the Tigers only awarded him 59 SuperCoach points, due to the stunning loss his side was dealt.
Although we didn’t see much of him in 2017, this is a guy who started the season as one of the highest price players at $575,900, due to his stellar 2016 season. From 21 games, Coniglio recorded 13 triple-figure performances, six of those above 120.
The only real cons that can be spoken about for Coniglio is waiting to see him get through a full pre-season, hoping he features in the JLT series and is ready to go for Round 1. All those aren’t sure things after playing just seven games during the regular season last year.
The other factor that will force many away from him is his awkward price. He is in between that range of a premium and a mid-priced player, and some may be more willing to go all out for a top ten midfielder. Others may want to save money and ignore Coniglio for a player $100,000 less that might offer some potential. The way I see it, he is the perfect price range for a guy who has proven he can average triple figures.
Since debuting in 2012, Coniglio’s average was on the perfect incline between 2014 (average of 83.5), 2015 (average of 91.7) and 2016 (105.9).
At the age of 24, there is no doubt the man is in his prime years. A discounted price range is a bonus, I can’t ignore this absolute bargain heading into 2018.