Former Hawthorn and West Coast defender Xavier Ellis has named his top five players in the competition based on current form.
Speaking on The Hard Ball Gets AFL Show, Ellis put an emphasis on selecting a variety of players across different positions instead of choosing five midfielders.
The most surprising selection of all is Ellis’ number three, Fremantle’s Alex Pearce. The 23-year old has been instrumental down back for the second-placed Dockers, who have conceded 67.7 points per game, the second best defensive record in the league.
He is averaging just 0.8 one-on-one losses in defence so far this season, according to AFL Stats Pro. And Ellis went so far as to label Pearce the “best defender in the competition”.
“Alex Pearce is the best defender in the competition. He has not been beaten,” he told The Hard Ball Gets AFL Show.
“Fremantle are the best team at eliminating marks inside 50. The easiest way of scoring goals is by taking a mark and scoring a goal.
“Watch him play and you don’t notice him… because he doesn’t get beaten. He just punches it and punches it and punches it.
“Watching on the weekend, the Bulldogs don’t really have a forward line, but him and (Joel) Hamling working together, they just wax together.”
Here is Ellis’ top five players in the competition:
5. Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
4. Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
3. Alex Pearce (Fremantle)
2. Jeremy Cameron (GWS)
1. Patrick Cripps (Carlton)