Coniglio, Taylor avoid major injury as GWS beat Saints

Injury carnage has marred GWS's one-point win against St Kilda, with star midfielder Stephen Coniglio and key defender Sam Taylor both hurt in the Manuka Oval thriller.

The Saints sent an almighty late scare through the GWS camp, surging with the final six goals of the match to almost turn around a 35-point deficit and trail by a solitary point with 40 seconds left.

The Saints even worked the centre clearance, before a courageous mark from James Peatling saw the Giants cling on and move to 5-0 for the AFL season.

But a sickening head clash with Saint Jack Steele that knocked out Taylor and put him in hospital soured the win, although GWS coach Adam Kingsley confirmed post-game he’d received no major damage and would enter concussion protocols.

Coniglio was also spared the worst, cleared of a serious knee injury after going through initial ACL tests post a final-quarter incident.

Kingsley said Coniglio would go for scans to confirm the initial diagnosis, which he described as “not minor, but not serious”.

Stephen Coniglio.
Stephen Coniglio is assisted from the field late in GWS's win over the Saints.

Of the Saints’ late run, the GWS boss said they shut up shop too soon

“We went a little bit too early on protecting the game and protecting the ball and didn't play our normal way for long enough in that quarter,” he said.

“(That) probably invited them to attack us ... (and) put our backs under enormous pressure.  

“They held up really well for the most part, but ultimately the dam wall broke a little bit in the last seven minutes of the game and forced it to be a really, really tight, close game which either team in the end could have won.”

Canberrans Tom Green and Steele locked horns in an engaging head-to-head battle on home turf, with the GWS star perhaps edging the contest of inside midfielders.

Green, who slotted a brilliant snapped goal on the run early to stamp his authority on the game, finished with 24 touches and five clearances, with teammate Lachie Whitfield racking up a game-high 34 disposals.

Forwards Toby Green and Jesse Hogan found two goals each for GWS, with the latter’s set shot seconds before three-quarter time putting them into what seemed a match-winning 29-point lead.

Four Saints kicked two majors including goalsneak Anthony Caminiti, whose two goals both came deep in fourth-quarter red time as his side bolted home.

St Kilda were spared their own major injury, coach Ross Lyon stating key forward Max King had “wrenched” his knee but has been cleared of any ligament damage.

Lyon took minimal satisfaction from their late charge, indicating it was the sort of ball movement he’d wanted to see all day.

“Basically that's how we've moved it a fair bit during the year ... we thought in the third (quarter) we were dominating at times, 15 entries and we were just butchering golden opportunities and they counter-punched off it,” he said.

“It's a mixed bag (but) it's nothing to be happy about, we're in a professional national league wanting to win games.

“We overplayed stuff at times. They were really sharp early which we know they can be as they're very talented, but we worked our way through it.”

Saint Bradley Hill was in dynamic touch and finished with 33 disposals and a goal, while ruck Rowan Marshall put in a monstrous game that included 16 clearances and 10 inside 50s.

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