Steven May during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

Melbourne's second successive defeat has further amplified the reliance the reigning premiers have on defensive stalwart Steven May down back.

The All-Australian backman was absent from Saturday night's loss to the Swans due to concussion sustained in the opening quarter of last week's matchup with another fellow finals contender in Fremantle.

The Demons' latest defeat saw Simon Goodwin's backline structure concede 10 marks inside their defensive 50, the club's second-worst tally of the season and highest since Round 3.

Melbourne's backline also lost eight defensive one-on-one contests (DOOOCs) for the match, a metric May has allowed on just two occasions from a total of 39 contests.

The 5.1% contested defensive loss (CDL) rate places May No.1 in the competition for one-on-one defensive efforts, 4 per cent lower than the next best in the league in Port Adelaide's Tom Jonas - who has also conceded just two DOOOCs but has faced 17 fewer instances.

The pair sit atop the best one-one-one defenders for CDL% among defenders to have faced at least 20 DOOOCs so far this season, a pool consisting of 51 of the AFL's best defenders.

The next best-ranked defender is Greater Western Sydney's Sam Taylor, whose 10.5% CDL is more than double May's, with the emerging stingy Giant having lost just four of his 38 DOOOCs.

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Rounding out the top five is Saints forward-turned-Swans defender Paddy McCartin and young Crow Nick Murray, who have both recorded three CDLs from 25 DOOOCS for a return of 12%.

May's partner-in-crime Jake Lever also ranks among the top 10 in the league, placing seventh in losing three of 20 DOOOCS.

Magpies duo Brayden Maynard (12.5%) and Darcy Moore (18.2%) also pair well in defence, ranking sixth and ninth respectively.

First-year Tiger Josh Gibcus is well placed at 16.7%, having lost just four of his 24 defensive one-on-one contests.

At the other bottom end of the tally, Eagle Tom Barrass is battling at a CDL rate of 42.3%, having conceded 11 losses from 26 one-on-one contests.

Bombers recruit Jake Kelly (41%), Cat Jake Kolodjashnij (40.9%), new Blue Lewis Young (38.5%) and Crow Billy Frampton (38.5%) also take place toward the lower ranks.

Rank Player CDOOO CDL CDL%
1 Steven May 39 2 5.1
2 Tom Jonas 22 2 9.1
3 Sam Taylor 38 4 10.5
4 Paddy McCartin 25 3 12
5 Nick Murray 25 3 12
6 Brayden Maynard 24 3 12.5
7 Jake Lever 20 3 15
8 Josh Gibcus 24 4 16.7
9 Darcy Moore 44 8 18.2
10 Josh Walker 48 9 18.8
11 Dan Houston 21 4 19
12 Brandon Starcevich 21 4 19
13 Lachlan Keeffe 26 5 19.2
14 Charlie Ballard 36 7 19.4
15 Harris Andrews 61 12 19.7
16 Brennan Cox 35 7 20
17 Dane Rampe 24 5 20.8
18 Callum Wilkie 28 6 21.4
19 Marcus Adams 37 8 21.6
20 Sam De Koning 37 8 21.6
21 Jeremy McGovern 23 5 21.7
22 Aliir Aliir 32 7 21.9
23 Robbie Tarrant 27 6 22.2
24 Sam Collins 57 13 22.8
25 Harry Edwards 21 5 23.8
26 James Sicily 54 13 24.1
27 Tom Doedee 33 8 24.2
28 Aidan Corr 36 9 25
29 Alex Pearce 45 12 26.7
30 Harrison Petty 22 6 27.3
31 Jeremy Howe 31 9 29
32 Tom McCartin 37 11 29.7
33 Jacob Weitering 33 10 30.3
34 Darcy Gardiner 33 10 30.3
35 Ben McKay 23 7 30.4
36 Tom Clurey 39 12 30.8
37 Dougal Howard 29 9 31
38 Josh Battle 22 7 31.8
39 Ryan Gardner 30 10 33.3
40 Denver Grainger-Barras 24 8 33.3
41 Ryan Burton 21 7 33.3
42 Sam Frost 32 11 34.4
43 Jordon Butts 37 13 35.1
44 Jayden Laverde 56 20 35.7
45 Jordan Ridley 25 9 36
46 Shannon Hurn 21 8 38.1
47 Billy Frampton 26 10 38.5
48 Lewis Young 26 10 38.5
49 Jake Kolodjashnij 22 9 40.9
50 Jake Kelly 39 16 41
51 Tom Barrass 26 11 42.3

AFL's best defensive one-one-one players (minimum 20 DOOOCs faced), via AFL.com.au