OUT-OF-CONTRACT Western Bulldog Jordan Roughead has given his strongest indication yet that he will remain at the club in 2016.
The key defender is the highest priority player for the Dogs to re-sign heading into the 2015 season, after consolidating himself in the full-back role.
Ahead of his seventh year at the club, Roughead said there was only one place he wanted to be next year.
"I love the Western Bulldogs footy club, always have and always will," he told Sportsday Radio on Monday night.
"Hopefully in the next little bit we can get a deal done and lock it away."
Veterans Matthew Boyd, Dale Morris and captain Bob Murphy are free agents, but it is the signature of 24-year-old Roughead in the defensive half that will be most sought after.
He highlighted the influence of the three veterans to the importance of his game.
"We've got three 200-game players in the backline and they have a real calming influence on myself and some of the young key position players coming through," Roughead said.
"It's often talked about in the media that our defence is almost a vulnerability, but we don't see it like that.
"I've had some unbelievable tutelage in Matthew Scarlett coming down for a few years and teaching me the tricks of the trade … a guy like Rohan Smith who played 300 games in the backline for our club, as well as Dale Morris, known as 'The Glove' around the footy club."
After a pre-season he described as "tumultuous", Roughead said new coach Luke Beveridge had taken former boss Brendan McCartney's game-plan to the next level.
"He's (Beveridge) made some little minor tweaks that have made our game-plan a little bit more sound.
"He's allowed some of the younger guys to go back to playing footy purely through their instincts.
"They know the game-plan well enough that they can do the things that got them to the highest level in the first place."