IN HIS post-match address to the players, Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was tempted to single out the heroics of defender Easton Wood.
In the end, he chose not to, instead collectively praising the defensive group behind closed doors.
But in front of the media, Beveridge didn't shy away from singling out the 25-year-old, who was the Bulldogs' best player by a mile in their six-point win over St Kilda on Saturday night.
"He's off the charts with the way he's playing," Beveridge said.
"[His work has] been great all year and has been benchmark stuff but tonight it was off the charts.
"His timing is impeccable at the moment, whether he's marking or spoiling, whatever it may be, he really kept us in the game."
Wood is in career-best form and is arguably the Dogs' most improved player in 2015, against stiff competition from Mitch Wallis and Liam Picken.
Last year, Wood often had to play tall as a key defender to fill the void in the absence of Jordan Roughead and Dale Morris.
Under Beveridge, he has flourished and is enjoying the freedom he has been given to run and create off half-back.
Wood's ability to read the play is outstanding so it's no surprise he is the Dogs' No.1 ranked player for intercept marks, and is in the top 10 in AFL League for total contested marks with 20 for the year (9th).
He is also averaging a career-high 17.4 disposals and 7.4 marks per game.
Against the Saints he had 13 marks, seven of which were intercepts, and he saved his best one until last.
With just minutes left on the clock, and with the Saints peppering the ball into their forward line, Wood launched himself at a contest in his defensive 50, clunking the mark and essentially saving the game for the Dogs.
Teammate Koby Stevens described Wood's ability to read the play and take intercept marks as "ridiculous".
"He is one player who keeps building his confidence every week," Stevens told AFL.com.au.
"That's the best thing about our group, we just keep growing together and getting better each week.
"Easton, along with all the backs were incredible. Without them we would have been in strife."