Bolton steps up for Hawks

FORMER Northern Bomber Brendon Bolton will get another opportunity to sit in the senior coaching seat at Hawthorn with two-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson sidelined for at least ``the next few weeks'' due to a serious back complaint.

Brendon Bolton coaching the Hawks at Aurora Stadium in the NAB Cup match against North Melbourne in February.

Brendon Bolton coaching the Hawks at Aurora Stadium in the NAB Cup match against North Melbourne in February.

Clarkson has been hospitalised with Guillain-Barraacé syndrome, which is an inflammation of the nerves around the spinal cord, and is expected to remain in hospital for at least the next week.

The 46-year-old was taken to hospital on Monday night with back pain which swiftly became more acute.

``We're fortunate that Alastair's condition has been detected early, and we're confident he is in the best possible hands under the care of very experienced specialists,'' Hawthorn chief executive Stuart Fox said yesterday.

``Our primary concern is for Alastair's health and a timeline for his return to coaching is not a consideration at this stage.

 ``The club will provide support for Alastair and his family for as long as it takes him to recover.''

Fox said Bolton had the full support of the club as he steps into the senior coach role for  ``as long as may be required''.

``Having worked together for six years, Alastair and Brendon share very similar coaching, teaching and management philosophies.''

Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge said the players' first reaction was one of shock.

``He's a person who's always out at training, he was not really different to how he has been in the past,'' Hodge said.

``Bolts spends a lot of time with Clarko. All the coaches will help him out in the next few weeks.

``As far as a playing point of view, Clarko delegates his role to all the assistant coaches. The messages will be the same.''

Bolton, who played for North Launceston and North Hobart, coached Hawthorn in its 65-point NAB Cup win over North Melbourne in Launceston in February, and usually looks after the team's forward line. 

He also coached North Hobart, Clarence and the Tassie Devils and Box Hill in the VFL.

Hawthorn takes on Greater Western Sydney at the MCG on Sunday, before playing its second match of the season at Aurora Stadium against West Coast the following Saturday, giving Bolton another opportunity to coach in his home state.

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