BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Caleb Daniel (left) and Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs celebrates during the 2017 AFL round 22 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Port Adelaide Power at Mars Stadium on August 19, 2017 in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The Western Bulldogs are confident they can retain all of their out of contract stars this year with 2022 looming as a big one for Dogs list manager Sam Power.

Jack Macrae, Josh Dunkley, Caleb Daniel, Bailey DaleTim EnglishBailey Smith and Jason Johannisen are a number of out of contract Dogs at the end of the season, with an estimated 22 players without a deal going into 2023 and beyond.

Dunkley requested a trade to Essendon at the end of the 2020 season but has since warmed up to the possibility of staying at the Bulldogs, with his manager Liam Pickering recently stating that he expects the versatile onballer to remain a Dog.

"He'll probably extend now. Let's be honest, he's got a year to go," Pickering said last year on the Real Talk With Beno podcast.

"I haven't heard anything else and we aren't actively out there.

"I personally think he'll extend at the Dogs."

While Dunkley's signature will be among the highest earners from next year, the Bulldogs will also need to offer substantial fees to All-Australian trio Macrae, Daniel and Dale should they pay market price.

English frames as the future ruckman for Luke Beveridge's side, while Smith is one of the most marketable players in the league and has pieced together a stellar campaign across just three years at the Kennel.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Jack Macrae of the Bulldogs celebrates after kicking a goal during the round 20 AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Despite this, Power believes the 2021 grand finalists are in a good position to retain all required players at the end of the season.

“When we think the group of players is going to be in a certain window where they’re challenging for a premiership, you’re really aligning your TPP (total player payments) closely to that,” Power told members, per NCA NewsWire. 

“We feel that the playing group is in that window, so we’ve had a really clear strategy and we’ve aligned our TPP to that over a period of time now.

“That gives us really good confidence that we’ll be able to retain our key players."

Power said that while there were plenty of discussions to be had, there was enough time ahead to work through negotiations with players.

The Dogs list boss acknowledged that some of the players out of contract may be in high demand, but believes the club has poised itself well enough to retain those desired.

“We have clearly got a lot of players out of contract this year, but there are discussions ongoing with a lot of those players at the moment," Power said.

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“We’re really confident at this stage that we’ll be able to retain those players and keep this group together."

Superstar Macrae recently expressed his desire to remain a Dog for life despite unavoidable outside interest.

"I think it's no secret that everyone knows how much I love this club and how proud I am to represent this club every week," the left-footer told media this week.

"I obviously want to retire as a Western Bulldogs player.

"I can't be any more black and white than that, I want to finish my career here.

"I'll leave it to the manager and leave it there."

Power did reveal that out of the 22 uncontracted players, there were some that had a higher level of priority than others when it comes to re-signing.

“There are some good players coming out of contract, but it’s not uncommon across the competition for a lot of players to be coming out in any given year and we’re no different to that,” he said.

“I think from a club perspective, it allows clubs to maintain flexibility. It also helps from a salary cap management point of view.

“In terms of our guys, there are clearly six or seven priorities and we want to retain every single one.”

The Bulldogs will be seeking redemption when they open their 2022 account against Melbourne in a grand final rematch on Wednesday, March 16 at the MCG.