Old loyalties die hard for Brisbane coach Chris Fagan.
The former football operations boss at Hawthorn has taken time ahead of Saturday's AFL clash with the Western Bulldogs to throw his support behind besieged Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson.
Clarkson's future is under enormous scrutiny after the former premiers slumped to a 0-4 season start to leave them last on the ladder.
Fagan spent a golden nine-year period at Hawthorn, overseeing four premierships with Clarkson at the helm, and said criticism aimed at the coach was an overreaction.
"He's won four premierships in case everyone has forgotten," he said.
"I do know a lot about that club and I do know they will bounce back and when they do, everyone better watch out.
"I think it's just an overreaction.
"They are an easy target at the moment but Clarko is a great coach."
Fagan hoped he was seeing the early signs of Hawthorn's rise to their former dominance at the Lions.
Brisbane (1-5) have been competitive but have been made to pay for lapses in matches.
The Lions went toe-to-toe with Richmond last round before conceding four goals in two minutes and eventually losing by 52 points.
"It's not unusual. I remember going through all this stuff at Hawthorn about five or six years ago as we were striving to become a great team there," Fagan said.
"They are just learning experiences, things that you have to go through to get better.
"A lot of teams have those bursts of goals kicked against them and it's usually some of the younger teams.
"We are hopeful we will just learn from that experience."
Another learning experience looms on Saturday when they line up against a Bulldogs team celebrating skipper Robert Murphy's 300th game.
"They'll be inspired by that," Fagan said.
"We assume we will play a Bulldogs (team) that are the best they can be."
Fagan is still reeling from losing Allen Christensen for the season on the eve of what was supposed to be his comeback match.
Christensen suffered the setback after a crack was found in the metal plate surgically implanted to strengthen his fractured collarbone.
"He just can't get any luck at the moment," Fagan said.
"We are most disappointed for him. He would have played this week."