Hayden Ballantyne’s antagonistic ways have received support from a former rival, who nominated the cheeky Docker as one of the hardest-working players in the AFL.

Former North Melbourne defender Daniel Pratt, 29, said the league-wide condemnation of Ballantyne’s aggravating tactics was “totally unfair”.

Pratt said every club would like to have Ballantyne.

“Every fan just wants their team to compete and if you had 18 Ballantynes on the field, whether you won or lost, you’d be happy, because you can never question his effort,” Pratt said.

“But he doesn’t just annoy, he backs it up with his ability, and his workrate; all the blocks, tackles and smothers.

“You watch him all game and you’ll see that no one tries harder.”

Pratt, who now has a player-coaching role with Box Hill in the VFL, said Ballantyne beat a lot of his rivals in the mental stakes, some before they stepped out on the ground.

“I know what it’s like to play on him. You want to throttle him. I hated playing on him,” he said.

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