WHILE acknowledging the opportunity presented to him as Hawthorn's interim coach, Brendon Bolton's focus is team-first rather than anything individual.
Bolton, whose journey to the Hawks' hot-seat took in Pipers River, North Launceston, North Hobart, Clarence, the Tassie Devils and Box Hill, will coach his second match as the stand-in-boss in his home state against West Coast in Launceston on Saturday.
But ask the 35-year-old how he went in the hot seat in Sunday's win over Greater Western Sydney, and the response is along the lines of ``there's no `I' in team''.
``What we look at is what an opportunity it was to expose some of our younger guys and allow them to compete against some of the best young talent in Australia,'' Bolton told The Examiner.
``Our reflection is on the processes we put in place for our players to follow and we tried to keep that as normal as possible, and we focused on the things we needed to do, rather than myself.''
This is not to say Bolton doesn't understand the chance he has been given while Alastair Clarkson recovers from a mild strain of Guillain-Barre syndrome.
``You never get any better development than coaching your own side, and I consider my time coaching in Tasmania and at Box Hill as the best development I've had and I've put all my energy into valuing the apprenticeship, as I think a lot of people really rush to go up the ranks in footy.''
Bolton said his experiences as a teacher and coach in Tasmania (at North Hobart and Clarence) hold him in good stead for the challenge ahead.
``One of the things I am pleased about with my time in Tassie is I learned what to say and how to say it, how to communicate with players and how not to.
``I thank Rosetta High School [now Montrose Bay High School] and my principal there at the time Graham Speight, who really made us focus not just on the content we were teaching, but on the way we were delivering it.
``It was learning how to learn and the best way to teach students rather than just looking at delivering the content, and there is a real difference.''
This philosophy will again be put into practice when the second-placed but injury-hit Hawks host the 11th-placed Eagles at Aurora Stadium.
For the second week in a row Bolton comes up against a former coaching colleague, this time Adam Simpson.
Late withdrawal Ben Stratton [adductor] and ruckmen David Hale [corked quad] and Ben McEvoy [corked hamstring] will have to pass fitness tests to line up.
Vice-captain Jordan Lewis [abductor], another late withdrawal, is expected to play and Cyril Rioli, could make a surprise return from his hamstring injury.
But the Eagles were dealt a blow last night with key forward Josh Kennedy ruled out of the clash with a fractured cheekbone, while Xavier Ellis and Brad Sheppard need to pass fitness tests.