GIANTS prime mover Stephen Coniglio's long-awaited return from a second ankle setback will be via the NEAFL on Saturday.

The GIANTS flirted with the idea of Coniglio stepping straight into the AFL side, as he did in round seven after missing the first six weeks of the season because of damage to the syndesmosis in his left ankle.

The 23-year-old lasted only two matches in his comeback before sustaining a more severe injury to the joint, which required surgery.

This time, Coniglio will join ex-Tiger Brett Deledio (calf) in making his comeback in the NEAFL against Sydney University at Blacktown.

"I was really close (to playing in the AFL)," Coniglio told

"After the extended time I had off, I was in a head space this week of purely wanting to get back and play football. It was a coaching decision for me to go through the NEAFL.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back on the park and I've given myself the best preparation. Whether it's one week or two weeks in the NEAFL, I'm thankful to be out there."

Coniglio and Deledio will finally depart a lengthy GIANTS injury list that still includes Jeremy Cameron, Ryan Griffen, Jacob Hopper, Sam Reid, Tim Taranto and Adam Kennedy, who is out for the season.

Deledio's most recent appearance was in round 17 last year for Richmond. He has battled calf problems since then that ended his 2016 season prematurely and delayed his GIANTS debut.

"We've done a lot of rehab sessions together, so to be playing together tomorrow is great, because it's been a frustrating period for 'Lids'," Coniglio said of Deledio.

"He finally gets a chance to play for the club at a reserves level, and I'm sure, even at his age, he is really excited to play for the club.

"It was at the forefront of my mind to make sure I'm doing my rehab properly, so that when I do come back again, I can help the side push towards another finals campaign."

It is only in recent times the GIANTS’ injuries appear to be taking a toll. The GIANTS recorded just one win and two draws in the past five rounds to slip from first to third.

Coniglio sees no issue with so many first-choice players preparing to return in the next six weeks, as Leon Cameron's men try to surpass last year's preliminary final effort.

"I think, if anything, the boys in the rehab group are in a really good spot and there are no concerns when you look across the board," he said.

"There will be a lot of players across the league having battles with their body, so for us to be bringing guys back changes the vibe of the group and hopefully that will be a positive for us."