Alastair Clarkson hands reins to assistants during Challenge

AS WELL as rotating its players through the NAB Challenge, Hawthorn will also rotate its senior coaching role, with assistant Brett Ratten taking charge for tonight's opening game against Collingwood in Launceston.

Midfield coach Cameron Bruce will take over for the game against North Melbourne in Shepparton on March 8, and Brendon Bolton will handle the final pre-season match against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on March 19.

Bolton stepped in for five games last season when coach Alastair Clarkson was struck down by Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Triple premiership-winning coach Clarkson (pictured) told the club's website the strategy was designed to give the assistant coaches "exposure to the demands of coaching on game day, organising your systems, the players, the strategy and opposition analysis".

Since 2010, four of Clarkson's assistant coaches - Damien Hardwick (Richmond), Adam Simpson (West Coast), Leon Cameron (GWS) and Luke Beveridge (Western Bulldogs) - have gone on to become senior coaches at rival clubs.

Hawthorn left out captain Luke Hodge, fullback Brian Lake and small forward Cyril Rioli, and Collingwood failed to name captain Scott Pendlebury, Brownlow medallist Dane Swan and forward Travis Cloke.

Topics:  afl alastair clarkson collingwood magpies hawthorn hawks

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