HAWTHORN'S stand-in coach Brendon Bolton was a happy man yesterday after watching his side defeat West Coast by 44 points.
Savouring a victory in his home state as acting coach, Bolton spoke positively about the club's depth and development program in bringing through replacement players when injuries hit.
"We had some names missing but it's amazing in the last two weeks we've probably found a player in Gus Litherland and his speed and being able to intercept marks has been a positive," Bolton said.
"And Matthew Spangher has been out, so he has had a lot of built-up emotion waiting for his opportunity and particularly late took a lot of intercept marks.
"So what it says, like last week, is we continue to build depth - we've been up against it a bit but never an excuse for us and all we worry about is lose a soldier, replace a soldier. I've got to keep using Clarko's analogy but it's so true.
"And that's what happened: a couple of blokes bob up and do their job, and that's all they need to."
Bolton was pleased for debutant ruckman Luke Lowden, who managed three goals in his first game and worked hard in the ruck.
"Isn't it exciting for a young bloke, 200-plus centimetres when he came in 2009 and weighing 75-80kg.
"He's worked hard to build his frame and our club has had to be patient and wait because bigger blokes take time.
"And against two quality ruckmen he's held his own, and to kick three goals - he's going to remember that and feel that emotion. It's a good story and that's what footy is about: people getting opportunities and stepping up.
"New faces bring energy and excitement, and that's how everyone gets their start. Someone's misfortune is another's opportunity, and then they have to try to hang on to their spot.
"It shows a lot for our development program and they come in knowing what to do."
Bolton said he was enjoying his stint in charge in the absence of Alastair Clarkson and as a proud Tasmanian loved coming back to his home state.
"I love coaching and as I've said right from the start let's hope Clarko is not too far away. It was great to see him up and out of hospital and having some conversations with us this week, and we welcome that because all his inputs are so valued.
"For me it is just a big injection of development. I don't know how long it will last - hopefully not too long, but I'm excited about the opportunity and it's going to help me.
"It showed we were a little bit more settled this week with more time to prepare, and full credit to our whole coaching staff."