Clarkson proud of Hawks’ coaching proteges

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson regards the prospect of another assistant at the AFL club being poached as a distinction, not a distraction.

Waverley Park has been a production line of head coaches in recent seasons.

Clarkson’s former right-hand men Brendon Bolton, Luke Beveridge, Leon Cameron, Adam Simpson and Damien Hardwick have become head coaches at rival clubs.

Brisbane’s sacking of Justin Leppitsch created this year’s first coaching vacancy.

Carlton assistant John Barker is considered the frontrunner, especially if Stuart Dew doesn’t throw his hat in the ring.

But Hawthorn assistant coach Brett Ratten is expected to be looked at by the Lions, and it wouldn’t surprise if they tried to headhunt Hawks football manager Chris Fagan.

“We’ve gone on record as saying we’ll encourage any of our staff to seek greater opportunities and seek their dreams,” Clarkson said on Tuesday.

“That has been the case with many of our assistant coaches. They’ve gone on to secure senior jobs at other clubs and we’re really proud of that.

“If that transpires again we’d wish them well.”

In an ideal world the Lions would start their search after this year’s finals series.

But Clarkson noted the Hawks have dealt with similar situations, including in 2015 when Bolton was appointed Carlton coach in August.

Damian Carrol stepped up to take Bolton’s place in the coach’s box during finals and the Hawks won a third straight premiership.

“We’re not in control of that (the Lions potentially reaching out to Ratten and Fagan), and to be fair we don’t really worry about it too much,” Clarkson said.

“Last year we were right in the midst of it with Bolts … we had to appoint a new forward line coach for the last part of the year.

“You can’t control that.”

The AFL website reported on Tuesday that Dew, who seriously contemplated joining Melbourne as Paul Roos’ heir apparent in 2013, was not interested in the Lions job.

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