Clarkson hoping for early AFL parting gift

A failed succession plan and a snap COVID-19 lockdown in Queensland will serve as unwanted distractions when Hawthorn and Brisbane lock horns in Launceston.

ALASTAIR CLARKSON, Coach of the Hawks.
ALASTAIR CLARKSON, Coach of the Hawks. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson hopes Brisbane counterpart Chris Fagan will give him an early going-away present when the sides lock horns in Tasmania on Sunday.

Clarkson was due to coach on at Hawthorn in 2022 before handing the reins to his assistant Sam Mitchell

But the AFL world went into a spin on Friday when it emerged Hawthorn had abandoned its controversial succession plan.

It means Clarkson has just four more games at the helm of the Hawks before walking off into the sunset.

The first game of his farewell tour will come against Fagan, who became good friends with Clarkson during his time as Hawthorn's head of coaching and development.

Brisbane will start Sunday's match as hot favourites against the lowly Hawks, who face a battle just to avoid the wooden spoon.

Clarkson joked his "great mate" Fagan might do him a favour following Friday's blockbuster coaching developments.

"I hope he might give us a three-goal head start the old fella, but we'll have to wait and see," Clarkson said.

"Right at the present time I want to give all the energy I possibly can for the last four weeks of our season.

"I've had my time in the sun here, it's been a blast the journey that we've had, but it's my turn to ride off into the sunset."

How Hawthorn's players handle the distraction of Friday's coaching announcement remains to be seen.

Brisbane's playing group will also have plenty on their mind after a snap three-day lockdown was called for 11 local government areas in Queensland on Saturday.

The Hawks-Lions match will still go ahead in Launceston as planned, but three other AFL matches have been postponed.

The Lions flew out of Brisbane on Saturday morning and will unveil former Cat Nakia Cockatoo against the Hawks.

The 24-year-old's appearance will end a 1212 day absence from AFL ranks, with his six-year injury-riddled stint at Geelong yielding just 35 games.

Brisbane (12-6) are a win adrift of the top four and need to beat Hawthorn to keep the pressure on fourth-placed Port Adelaide.