IT IS a new season, replete with new players and a new president but hopefully, the old Adam Cooney.

That was the message out of the Western Bulldogs on Friday as they finalised preparations for their season opener against the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Three recycled players, Nick Lower (ex-Fremantle and Port Adelaide), Koby Stevens (West Coast) and Tom Young (Collingwood) will play their first games for the Bulldogs. So too will Brett Goodes, who this time last year was the club's development manager.

Speaking after training on Friday, veteran forward Daniel Giansiracusa hailed Goodes's meteoric selection.

"Obviously we know him quite well, he was the development manager at the club. You could see how good his work ethic was as our welfare manager and you can see the way he goes about it on the footy field.

"His story is great in how he decided he wanted to play and if you saw his body now compared to last season he's in really good shape and he'll be a good weapon for us coming off half-back."

Giansiracusa said the new players added a degree of excitement to the Western Bulldogs as well as some much-needed depth. He painted a rosy picture heading into the new season.

"Guys are 12 months or more done in their development and the older guys still have their passion, not just for the footy club but for the game.

"We're about improvement and we've seen through the pre-season that we've taken little steps and we'll look for more tomorrow against the Lions," he said, citing contested ball and a stiffer defence as areas that the side had improved over the summer.

After several years of chronic knee soreness, 2008 Brownlow Medalist Cooney appears to have regained his spark and his form in the final practice match has raised expectations at the club about the type of contribution he could make.

"It was exciting with those bursts from the stoppages and he felt great after it," Giansiracusa said.

"Unfortunately there was a little hiccup with his knee but he trained like he played against Richmond on Wednesday. We were buoyed by that and he's excited to be playing some footy again."

The Bulldogs will honor recently retired president David Smorgon with a lap of honour before the match, which also marks the first game in charge for Peter Gordon, in his second stint at the helm of the club.

Giansiracusa lauded Smorgon's contribution to the club. "Obviously he was a passionate person as you have to be in that role and always had the club at heart.

"There were some dark days there in the early years of my career and I think we're going quite well off field now, so it's quite important that we marry that up with on-field achievements. We're definitely aiming to do that. How long that takes we can't tell."