Giants midfielder Stephen Coniglio still misses cricket, but having former Test opener Simon Katich around helps fill the loss.

The West Aussie had the option of belting a Kookaburra to the boundary for his sporting career rather than kicking a Sherrin, such was his immense talent as a cricketer.

Having reached first-grade level three years ago with Mid- land Guildford - Katich's old club - Coniglio chose football for his future and was picked by Greater Western Sydney with the No.2 selection in the 2011 national draft after impressive performances for Swan Districts.

Entering his third AFL season, the 20-year-old loves having Katich at the club as a player mentor.

"I do miss cricket a little bit, especially when the Aussies are doing really well," Coniglio said.

"I've got family and friends who still play. I still keep a keen eye on it.

"We've got Simon Katich now as a co-ordinator at the footy club. He's come on in a full-time role after the Big Bash. He's another cricket nerd I can bounce off. He's just great to have around the club. He's a person you admire.

"If you look over his career, a lot of his best performances have been back-against-the-wall stuff. Although he has a lot of talent, he probably worked a lot harder than a lot of his competitors. Hopefully that rubs off on our group."

Coniglio - a natural sports- man who booted four goals in the 2010 WAFL grand final as a 16-year-old - learnt for himself last year that things don't always come easy.

He was dropped for the first time in his young career following the Giants' heavy loss to Port Adelaide in round 12. A ham- string injury then meant he missed more senior football.

The classy on-baller responded by working on his defensive game and predicted both he and the Giants would mirror Gold Coast's evolution by becoming genuinely competitive this season.

GWS are coming from a low base, with just one win and an average losing margin of 72 points in 2013.

"Our pre-season so far has been about hard work and building resilience," Coniglio said. "There have been long training sessions so we can finish off games. This year we're out to win."

Coniglio predicted some of the improvement would come from fielding a trio of forward-line giants - Tom Boyd, Jonathon Patton and Jeremy Cameron.

The WA footballer shares a house with Patton, who is coming back after a knee reconstruction.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West