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JJ: Built Bulldog tough

December 24, 2017 6:00 AM

JJ to light-up Dogs' future Watch some of the highlights of Jason Johannisen's career to date.
TORQUAY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 18: Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs boxes during the Western Bulldogs beach training session at The Sands on December 18, 2017 in Torquay, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media) - Western Bulldogs,Jason Johannisen

TORQUAY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 18: Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs boxes during the Western Bulldogs beach training session at The Sands on December 18, 2017 in Torquay, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

Thought you knew Jason Johannisen?

The hair, the flair, the run and of course the Norm Smith Medal.  But in 2017 we saw a different side to the 24-year-old speedster; a grit and determination to fight through a challenge that saw him rewarded with his first Doug Hawkins medal.

It’s tempting to see the Dogs’ Round 12 encounter with the Swans at the SCG as a turning point for the former rookie.  Targeted physically by the Swans and his influence restricted, opposition sides picked up on the tactic and each week it was a familiar scene. The siren would sound and all eyes, and hips and shoulders, were on the West Australian.

All of this while the newspapers and talkback airwaves were filled with contract chatter.

But gradually he fought back, often sacrificing his own game for the team, and by Round 16 he was back breaking lines with confidence, and in Round 19 against the Bombers he kicked a career-high four goals.

Johannisen led the count in Rounds eight, 16 and 20 and if it wasn’t for a late season hamstring he may have found the one vote that separated him and eventual Sutton Medallist Marcus Bontempelli.

2017 was the year the football world learned what Bulldogs people already knew; the boy from Johannesburg is made of pretty stern stuff.

Thought you knew Jason Johannisen? Think again.

This article original appeared in Bulldog: 2017 Yearbook.  Click here to become a member and receive your exclusive copy in 2018.