THERE'S a new name on top of the pile as the best player in the competition, and it's a name that may surprise.

It's Max Gawn.

Champion Data's Official AFL Player Ratings has the Melbourne behemoth at No.1, unseating Geelong explosive Geelong ball-winner Patrick Dangerfield.

Gawn was dominant in 2018 but hasn't had quite the same influence this season, but the ratings take into account an individual's contributions over their past 40 games in a rolling two-year period.

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He is coming off a superb match, beating in-form Hawthorn big man Ben McEvoy on Saturday, while Dangerfield slipped all the way down to No.5 after his worst performance recorded since player ratings began being measured in 2010.

He picked up just eight disposals in the Cats' win over Essendon while battling a left knee issue.

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Looking at Gawn's stats since the start of last year, it's not hard to see why has the crown.

In that time, he has the highest percentage of hitouts won, more hitouts to advantage than anyone else, is No.3 for score launches per game and No.5 for contested marks per game.

Then there's the work he does to protect what has been a vulnerable backline at times, ranking No.30 for intercept marks per game, enough to be ahead of every other ruckman.

Only five others have held pole position in the Player Ratings, all of them midfielders: Dangerfield, Richmond superstar Dustin Martin, Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe, Collingwood champion Scott Pendlebury and modern-day great Gary Ablett.