HAWTHORN will rotate its senior coaching duties during the NAB Challenge, with assistant Brett Ratten set to take the reins from Alastair Clarkson against Collingwood on Thursday night.
Ratten, who was Carlton coach from mid-2007 until he was sacked at the end of 2012, will jump into the hot seat at Aurora Stadium before midfield coach Cameron Bruce takes charge against North Melbourne in Shepparton on March 8.
Forward line coach Brendon Bolton, who stepped in with a perfect record of five wins when Clarkson was struck down by Guillain-Barre syndrome last season, will oversee the final pre-season match against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on March 19.
“It gives our assistant coaches exposure to the demands of coaching on game day, organising your systems, the players, the strategy and the opposition analysis,” Clarkson told the club's website.
“We’ve felt it’s really beneficial for the growth and development of the guys.
“They’ve got great football experience and in many cases great football pedigrees, so it’s a tremendous opportunity for them to test the way they communicate with people because it’s a people’s business."
Clarkson and general manager of football operations Chris Fagan will oversee the assistants during the week and on game day.
“We’ll be like a helicopter hovering above – we’re there for support,” Clarkson said.
“We don’t just abandon the program altogether, we’ll try to stay a little bit removed so it allows those guys to grow into their roles and feel like they don’t have someone looking over their shoulder.
“Without a doubt where we can, we’ll be giving them assistance so they can do the job as well as they possibly can.
“We don’t want to intrude too much while things are occurring, we want them to have the space to make their own decisions and sometimes to make mistakes so they learn and grow from that.”
Clarkson has regularly handed control to his assistants during the pre-season competition and has groomed four current senior coaches.
Since 2010, Damien Hardwick, Adam Simpson, Leon Cameron and Luke Beveridge have stepped into senior jobs at rival clubs.
Ratten, who won 60 of his 120 matches as Blues coach, has been Hawthorn's stoppage coach since the end of the 2012 season.