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Giants still full of belief despite Coniglio being ruled out of preliminary final

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17th September, 2019
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GWS believe greater maturity and wisdom and a no-fear attitude are the keys to their form surge heading into an AFL preliminary final showdown with Collingwood.

A no-fear attitude and rising self-belief have a wiser and more mature GWS confident they can avenge last years AFL finals loss to Collingwood and score a rare MCG win.

The Giants will play the Pies on Saturday in Melbourne in what will be a third preliminary final in four years for the competition’s youngest club.

GWS lost each of those two previous games, but their confidence has been boosted by their equal season-best run of three straight wins, including an elimination final blowout of the Western Bulldogs and a three point semi-final thriller against Brisbane.

The Giants smacked Collingwood by 47 points in Sydney in round 18 in their only clash this year, but suffered a 10-point loss to the Pies in an MCG 2018 semi-final.

“It’s a completely different side and we’re a much more mature group, a much wiser group,'” GWS midfielder Matt de Boer said.

“A few changes to the game plan since then as well, so we go down with that much confidence.'”

GWS also have several more fit players to pick from than the corresponding stage last year. But that is tempered by the potential loss of star Toby Greene who will face a charge of unnecessary/unreasonable contact to the eye region of the Lions’ Lachie Neale.

“There’s a significant belief in the group that we don’t hold any fear anywhere and we’ve got effort and stars across every line,” de Boer said.

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“The belief we’ve got in the group at the moment is really quite profound.”

While GWS have a 3-15 overall record at the MCG, de Boer said the ground held no fears for the Giants.

“We might train this week and make the ground a little wider, but we’re confident we can go anywhere,” de Boer said.

Coach Leon Cameron previously rated gun midfielder Stephen Coniglio, who has been out of action and required surgery since he hurt his knee in the round-17 loss to Richmond, an outside chance to return in Saturday’s game.

“If there’s any doubt we will not be taking him into any game,” Cameron said.

“He needs to recover from his operation and he needs to be 100 per cent confident to play in such a huge game.”

If Coniglio was to return on Saturday, de Boer said it would be a massive boost for GWS, albeit he felt it could have a downside for him personally.

“I might have to go out of the side for him,” de boer said.

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That seems highly unlikely after De Boer produced another masterful lockdown job on Brisbane’s Lachie Neal, though he was quick to credit teammates for their help.

Lachie Whitfield suffered a knock to his lower back, but played out the game and does not appear to be in doubt for the preliminary final.

© AAP