Stephen Coniglio is in high demand as a free agent.
Stephen Coniglio is in high demand as a free agent.

Hawks coach reveals Coniglio call

HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson has made a personal pitch to superstar GWS free agent Stephen Coniglio to join the Hawks next year.

Clarkson says the arrival of the gun midfielder can turn his team into a premiership contender in 2020, but insists he isn't trying to "crowbar" Coniglio out of the Giants.

Speculation is rife Coniglio is set to leave the Giants for a big Melbourne club, with the free agent yet to re-sign on the eve of the finals.

Carlton and Hawthorn are believed to be the two clubs vying for his signature which is likely to be worth more than $1 million a year.

"Yeah, I've spoken to him, but not as much as what (list manager) Graham Wright and our (recruiting) group have," Clarkson said on Fox Footy's AFL360 on Monday night.

The Hawthorn coach insisted he didn't know where Coniglio will play in 2020.

"I genuinely don't know and to be honest, this sounds peculiar, but the preference of all coaches is that players would stay at their club.

"Our only attitude is if he decides to leave GWS we'd like to be at the front of the queue," he said.

"We're not trying to get a crowbar and pull him out of GWS, but if he decides to play his footy elsewhere then we want to try to compete with Geelong and everyone else, Carlton, whoever else might be in the scheme of things for 'Cogs' because he's a special player.

"We look at what happened with Geelong, you bring a couple of players into the group like (Gary) Rohan and (Luke) Dahlhaus ... all of a sudden things can turn around really, really quickly. We're hoping that can be the same with us, there's not a hell of a lot between first, second and third on the ladder."

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Clarkson said he was as desperate as anyone to know Coniglio's intentions, but he was happy to wait until after the season to find out.

"I think it's fair for everyone that, if they're a free agent, no player would declare where they're going at this stage. I think it's disrespectful to their clubs and their teammates," Clarkson said.

"We'd like to know too, but I think ... it's good for the competition to allow 2019 to be 2019, and 2020 to come after that, and there's plenty of time for us to all work that out, including GWS, Carlton and Hawthorn if they're the three players in this triangle of trying to secure his services, then we can all wait."

News Corp Australia

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