MUCH like his calm and assertive leadership style, Jarrod Witts is quietly climbing the ladder of best ruckmen in the competition.

Statistics and 'the eye test' show he's only a few rungs from the top.

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After Gold Coast's co-captain won the club's best and fairest in 2019, he has again elevated his game in 2020.

Amid the incredible start to Matt Rowell's career, the emergence of Lachie Weller in the midfield, and the infectious excitement of Izak Rankine, Witts' influence is easy to overlook. 

He is Gold Coast's glue.

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Last year Witts took on an enormous workload, recording the most hitouts ever in an AFL season as the Suns played a conservative, stoppage-based game. 

But with more talent around him, Witts has been given more licence to expand his hitout repertoire and his game has flourished. 

Good players don't have two bad games in a row

- Jarrod Witts

The 27-year-old is a keen student of the game and knew he had to develop for his team to progress. 

"Like anyone, I'm just searching for that consistency," Witts told AFL.com.au

"I'm trying to take more contested marks and have better body positioning for that long-down-the-line kick, so I can bring the ball to ground or not get outmarked. 

"I think I've improved in that area, but I also want to have more impact around the ball, that's where I think I can help the team most." 

Witts is already having a huge impact.

Before round nine began, he trailed only North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein among ruckmen for score involvements. 

He was fourth behind Goldstein, Brodie Grundy and Nic Naitanui for clearances and fourth again for hitouts to advantage behind Max Gawn, Grundy and Goldstein. 

Whatever way you cut the numbers, Witts is having a huge season. 

He knows he has a long way to go though, after being taught a lesson by Gawn when the Suns played Melbourne in round six. Like any good player though, Witts responded with a strong game against Sydney and then it was his turn to play teacher against boom Western Bulldogs product Tim English, outpointing his young rival in the wet.

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"Good players don't have two bad games in a row, so I'm just trying to narrow that gap between my best and worst performances," Witts said. 

"That's the best part of playing in the ruck, you get one opponent, so it's you and him locking horns for most of the day.

"You're both trying to wear each other down and generally after the game there's a winner and a loser." 

Standing 209cm and weighing 111kg, Witts is a colossal figure. 

Since being traded from Collingwood to the Suns, he has become a mainstay, and will play his 53rd consecutive game against Greater Western Sydney on Sunday. 

When he re-signed a five-year contract extension at the end of 2018, it opened the floodgates for others to follow. 

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Football manager Jon Haines described it as a "symbolic moment for the club", one that began a flood of signatures that hasn't stopped. 

Haines said aside from Witts improving as much as any player on Gold Coast's list in his three years at the club, his leadership went under the radar.

Gold Coast skipper Jarrod Witts and first-year star Matt Rowell after the round four win against Fremantle. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

"Performing well each week allows you to lead more effectively," Haines said. 

"If you can play your role each week, guys will come with you. 

"He's a real student of the game and a student of learning – he wants to learn about leadership. 

"He's a reflective thinker, he takes time to think about things, but when he speaks it's really thoughtful and really considered. 

"He doesn't just shoot from the hip and I think players respect that. 

"People that size have a physical presence, so he can impose himself on a room and impose himself on a group. 

"What we see that others don't is the amount of work he does mentoring other players, caring about other players and their families … that builds trust with people really really quickly."