MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - OCTOBER 01: Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs kisses the premiership cup during the 2016 AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 1, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images)

THE Western Bulldogs insist they will retain off-contract Norm Smith Medallist Jason Johannisen at the end of this season.

Spearheading the Bulldogs’ Cinderella fairy-tale Premiership victory in 2016, AFL clubs will queue up to snare Johannisen away from the club.

Quelling Bulldogs fans fears, Johannisen said he and the club are currently in talks to sign an extension.

“Hopefully a deal gets done soon,” Johannisen told SEN Radio.

Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy asserts the electric running defender won’t be leaving anytime soon.

“He’s a star and if that means we have to pass the hat around for loose change to keep him, that’s how we’ll do it,” Murphy said.

As a vital component in the Bulldogs premiership defense, opposition teams will be determined to find ways to contain Johanissen’s impact this season.

However, Johannissen offers caution to those teams vowing to pay extra attention on his game.

“The way our team plays, we’re going to have a lot of players that will give us drive,” Johannisen said.

“If someone gives me a bit of tension we’ll have Bob (Murphy) or Shane Biggs or Matthew Boyd running ragged.

“So if it comes, it comes, but I think we can deal with it.”

Unlike last season, the Bulldogs won’t be slipping under anyone’s radar as the team to beat. Taking on every team’s best is a gruelling task and something Johannisen admitted to expecting this season.

“We spoke about it, but the power of this group is that 2016 is behind us and it’s going to be a fresh new season,” he said.

“All we can concentrate on each session is trying to get better.”