AARON Sandilands believes Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox are still the best ruck duo in the AFL despite the queries on Naitanui's form and fitness.
Sandilands, himself a target of criticism from four-time premiership coach Leigh Matthews over his value as a ruckman, has taken no notice of what has been said about either he or Naitanui.
The three-time All Australian, who will play his 200th match on Sunday against West Coast, says Naitanui is one of the most difficult ruckmen to face in the League.
"He's a quality player. He's very athletic," Sandilands said.
"They're probably one of the best ruck combinations going around.
"When you've got Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui in your side you know you've got to be on your game to play against those guys."
Sandilands played down the criticism that had been levelled at him after the Dockers' loss to Hawthorn in round three. The 211cm giant says he has not heard the comments or read any articles referring to it.
"No, not at all. I hadn't read the article," Sandilands said.
"I heard (about it) externally, but not what was in it. People are entitled to their opinion and all we can do is focus on playing good footy.
"I listen to my coaches and the guys I play with and take feedback from them rather than external stuff."
Sandilands gave some interesting insights into what he believes are the main key performance indicators for a ruckman.
"The number one thing is getting first use of the ball and putting it to the advantage of your midfield," Sandilands said.
"That's the main reason you're picked and that's the start of it and then I suppose it's the second effort follow up stuff and the rest goes from there."

Contracted until the end of next year, Sandilands hopes his game will grow to even greater heights.

"You want to keep improving the whole time you play the game, so there is definitely lots of areas I need to improve in my game at the moment," Sandilands said on Tuesday.

Sandilands was stoked to play just one game after being snared with pick No.33 in the 2002 rookie draft.

So he is understandably over the moon to be on the verge of reaching his 200-game milestone, especially after suffering a number of serious toe and hamstring injuries in recent years.

"You blink and the next thing you know it's 200," Sandilands said.

"It's been a great journey and I've really enjoyed my footy. I love the Fremantle Football Club and the players and the staff that are there."