Hawthorn wingman Isaac Smith has paid tribute to his opposition coach ahead of Sunday's clash with Carlton in Launceston.
A former Hawks assistant who boasted a 5-0 caretaker record in Alastair Clarkson's absence, Brendon Bolton will fancy his chances of squaring his Hawthorn win-loss ledger up at 2-2 after the Blues won their first game of the season last weekend.
Now into the fourth year of his tenure at Ikon Park, Bolton is Blue through and through but is still remembered fondly by those who played under him at the Hawks.
"Bolts was an absolute ripper to have around the club," Smith said of the 1998 North Launceston premiership player.
"We used to have a lot of fun with him, he's a great guy and I'm sure he's rubbing his personality off on a lot of people at Carlton.
"He's always a guy with a lot of energy and a guy that had a lot of respect for everyone and he did a fantastic job with us.
"It's great to see him in a head coaching position and - not on the weekend - but hopefully in future he does really well."
The Hawks enter their first of four UTAS Stadium fixtures in desperate need of a win having dropped their past two games to sit at 2-3 after five rounds.
Having played five 20-year-olds in last week's loss to Geelong, the Hawks welcomed back experienced heads Liam Shiels and Ben Stratton at the expense of David Mirra, Harry Morrison and Conor Nash, while the Blues recalled promising forward Charlie Curnow.
Smith said his youth-heavy Hawks side was showing good signs but still a way off matching the top sides.
"We haven't been playing our best footy and we need to play our best footy to beat Carlton on the weekend," Smith said.
"We've just got to gel a little bit more as a team, play a little bit more instinctive and bring energy to the contest.
"We're slowly building - we were probably in better form two, three, four weeks ago and we've probably just gone through a little slump the last couple of weeks but it's a long season.
"I think if we were 3-3 then we'd be sitting sixth or seventh at the moment so there's really not that much between the sides at the moment."
Now into his ninth AFL season, the 30-year-old is one of the Hawks' most well-versed Launceston visitors having made more than 30 trips since debuting in 2011.
A steal at pick 19 in the 2010 draft, the three-time premiership player knows bargains better than most and often picks one up at Cimitiere Street's weekly Harvest Market.
"I love going to the markets on a Saturday in Launny, seeing all the fresh produce and all the locals out and about.
"It's got a real community feel which is nice."
- What: Hawthorn v Carlton
- When: Sunday, 3.20pm
- Where: UTAS Stadium
- Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com.au