COLLINGWOOD has secured an off-season boost, with Hawthorn football manager Graham Wright set to join the Magpies.

In a shock move, the Hawks announced on Saturday the long-time football boss was leaving to "explore other opportunities".

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Wright had been an architect of Hawthorn's success under coach Alastair Clarkson since 2007, first as a list and recruiting boss and more recently as the club's football manager.

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But Wright, who played 201 games for Collingwood, including the 1990 premiership win over Essendon, is set to head back to his former club to fulfill the vacant football manager role.

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He will replace veteran administrator Geoff Walsh, who announced last year he would be retiring from the position.

Geoff Walsh resigned as the Pies' football manager last year. Picture: AFL Photos

Hawthorn chief executive Justin Reeves said in a statement the club was supportive of Wright's decision to move on.

"Graham has given this club incredible service over a number of years and we will be forever grateful for his contribution and commitment to the brown and gold," said Reeves.

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"While it is always disappointing to lose someone of Graham's calibre, we are also supportive of his decision and understand that the time is right for Graham to seek a new challenge."

Wright will finish at the Hawks this week, with football operations manager Rob McCartney to take on the role in the interim as Hawthorn undertakes a process to replace Wright.