- from afl.com.au
BRENDON Bolton has lauded his old boss Alastair Clarkson as Hawthorn's slump sparks the first rumblings about the future of the coaching great.
Earlier this week, former Geelong and Essendon coach Mark Thompson speculated that Clarkson might be tempted to leave Hawthorn to chase more success.
On Thursday, a provocative column from Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams went a step further, saying the time had come for Clarkson to leave Waverley.
Clarkson - a four-time premiership coach, the best of the modern era - is contracted to Hawthorn until the end of the 2019 season.
On Friday, Carlton coach Bolton - one of six current senior AFL coaches who previously worked with Clarkson at Hawthorn - extolled the 48-year-old's virtues.
"It wouldn't be right for me to comment on someone else's situation," Bolton said.
"But what I do know about Al Clarkson and his coaching team right now, they would be working incredibly, incredibly hard.
"He's been a fantastic coach and mentor.
"The other thing is he's been a loyal friend to me and he's a loyal person.
"So that's probably as far as I make in terms of comments about Clarko."
If the Hawks lose to Geelong in their Easter Monday blockbuster, it will be the first time they have been 0-4 at the start of a season since Clarkson's first year as coach in 2005.