GIANTS vice-captain Stephen Coniglio has been recognised for his outstanding service to the multicultural youth of Western Sydney by being awarded the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award.
Coniglio becomes the first GIANTS player to receive the honour, which was presented at tonight’s Brownlow Medal function in Sydney.
The Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award is presented annually to an AFL or AFLW player who has best demonstrated the values of the late former Melbourne Football Club President and player Jim Stynes, in their commitment to the community, helping others and making a difference and the way they played and represented the game on field.
The star midfielder took out the award ahead of fellow finalists Jessica Hosking (Carlton), Geelong’s Jermaine Jones and former Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak.
Coniglio, who earlier this month committed his future to the club by signing a seven-year contract, has been recognised for his role across a range of programs that engage the multicultural communities of Western Sydney.
The 25-year old has worked closely with the NSW Government to develop the Coniglio-Farrugia Community Program and holds ambassadorial roles with the Fairfield Falcons Football Club, All Nations Cup, Bachar Houli programs and the Lighthouse Community Support program, to promote AFL and social cohesion in Western Sydney.
Coniglio’s involvement in the NSW Government community program has opened up opportunities for more than 3,000 multicultural students from 20 schools to experience Australian culture and the healthy and active lifestyle from key AFL and AFLW mentors.
The West Australian works tirelessly to use his profile to promote inclusivity and his generosity also extends to giving back to the community. On his 25th birthday last December he personally visited 25 junior GIANTS members at their own homes with thank-you gifts.
Coniglio said he was delighted to be named the recipient of an award named after the legendary former Melbourne player and President who was renowned for his community work.
“This is an incredible honour for me and to be recognised by the wider AFL family as someone that demonstrates the values of Jim Stynes is truly humbling,” he said.
“I’m very passionate about the multicultural communities that make up Western Sydney and helping the next generation realise the opportunities they have in front of them.
“I’d like to acknowledge the other finalists for the fantastic work they do and I look forward to continuing to build strong connections across Western Sydney and helping those around me realise that anything’s possible.”
GIANTS Chief Executive David Matthews said that the award is deserved recognition for Coniglio’s commitment to the communities of Western Sydney.
“Stephen has grown into a tremendous leader of our club and his tireless community work over eight years is a testament to the upbringing he’s had and the person he’s become,” Mr Matthews said.
“The GIANTS are proud to represent the most culturally diverse region of Australia and the work Stephen and the entire playing group does is pivotal in growing our club and the code more broadly.”
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said the award continues to honour the legacy that Jim Stynes left among the community.
“Stephen is an outstanding role model, his passion and commitment for growing the game at all levels is truly impressive.
“His engagement with the diverse communities of Western Sydney, along with the GIANTS and the team at AFL NSW/ACT, is to be commended. This award is much deserved recognition for Stephen’s dedication over the past eight years.”
Past winners include Melbourne's Neville Jetta (2018), Port Adelaide's Jack Hombsch (2017), Geelong's Jimmy Bartel (2016), Carlton's Dennis Armfield (2015), West Coast Eagles' Beau Waters (2014), Gold Coast Suns' Zac Smith (2013) and Richmond's Daniel Jackson (2012).
Proudly supported by Telstra the AFL and the Jim Stynes Foundation, the Coniglio received $40,000 to donate to the charity or community program of his choice.
The Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award selection panel includes:
• Sam Ludbey-Stynes – Jim Stynes Foundation
• Luke Darcy – Network Seven & Triple M
• Neil Mitchell – 3AW
• Kim Williams – AFL Commissioner
• Andrew Dillon, General Counsel/General Manager Game Development
• Sarah Fair – AFL GM, People
• Jude Donnelly – AFL, Head of Government Relations & Corporate Social Responsibility
• Jennie Loughnan – AFL Ground Operations Manager
• Brent Hadley – AFL PA Representative