Clarkson back as coach of Hawthorn

UPDATE: Alastair Clarkson has declared he has fully recovered from what he described as the "mildest of mild doses" of Guillain-Barre syndrome and is ready to coach Hawthorn on Friday night.

"I have been fine for two or three weeks really. It's not really my first day at the club in a sense," he said on Monday.

"It was just making sure I got myself up to 100 per cent. I feel like over the last couple of weeks I really could have coached but it was just making sure I got the specialist's approval."

That came on Monday morning, with Clarkson confirming he did not have any issues in terms of balance, strength and well-being. He will return to coach against North Melbourne, having been absent for five weeks because of illness.

The Hawks have maintained a winning ethos under caretaker Brendon Bolton in the absence of their dual premiership mentor, while there have also been benefits through the development of Clarkson's assistants.

"We haven't been playing our most scintillating footy but we've had significant disruptions to our group," Clarkson said.

"We've worked really well over the last five or six weeks in my absence, but it's hardly ideal.

"The most difficult part was working out what we were going to do in the first week and once that was established then the important thing was I faded into the background and the club did what they needed to do.

"Our program will pretty much return to normal, but strangely enough out of what seemed like a pretty tough situation there's been a lot of growth at the club in the six weeks.

"Without a doubt Brendon Bolton's grown from this opportunity to coach our club in these five games and he'll be better for the experience."

Captain Luke Hodge, sporting a nasty cut above his eye after a head clash in Saturday's win over the Gold Coast Suns, said it was good to have Clarkson back in charge.

"Even though he hasn't been coaching, you would still chat to him as you normally would," he said.

"As far as away from footy, that hasn't changed much. As far as the last two weeks, he has been in some meetings."

Club chief executive Stuart Fox said Clarkson had steadily taken on greater responsibility in recent weeks.

“In line with medical advice, Alastair has been involved around the club over the past couple of weeks in a minor capacity while undertaking an active recovery,” Fox said.

“We’re really pleased Alastair is healthy and ready to return to work as the team embarks on the second half of the 2014 season.

Clarkson will return to a team that is now without star Cyril Rioli, after scans revealed he would miss at least eight weeks after damaging a tendon in his left hamstring on Saturday.

The Hawks will continue to analyse Rioli’s running technique, with the speedy midfielder having to learn when to run at full pace and when not to. The Hawks have noticed there are issues when he runs at full pace to pick up the ball.

The Hawks will need to decide whether Sam Mitchell returns via the VFL or against the Kangaroos after an extended break because of a hamstring tear.

This story Clarkson back as coach of Hawthorn first appeared on WA Today.