HAWTHORN defensive coach Luke Beveridge will take charge of the side for Thursday night's NAB Challenge opener against the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium.

The club website said Beveridge had been in charge all week ahead of the clash with the Lions.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson only returned from a study trip in the United States last weekend, although this is not the first time he has let his assistants take charge during the pre-season.

"Yes it's an opportunity, but I'm not going to take it anywhere that's outside of where 'Clarko' would normally take it," Beveridge told hawthornfc.com.au.

Beveridge played 118 games for Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda between 1989 and 1999 before turning to coaching.

He famously coached St.Bedes-Mentone to premierships in the Premier C, B and A competitions of the Victorian Amateur Football Association in consecutive seasons – a feat never recorded before.

He then worked as a development coach at Collingwood before joining the Hawks in 2012.

"As much as you feel a bit important for the night, you still have to remember that you're just part of a big team," Beveridge told the website.

"Keeping it in context, it is a NAB Challenge game and ideally, we want to get everyone through fit and healthy and having played some very important minutes."

"(But) hopefully we can also show the public again that we're ready to go."

The Hawks have also confirmed that one of Beveridge's project players, New Zealand rookie Kurt Heatherley, will be playing against the Lions.