Clarkson unsure on Hawks' best forward mix

Jason Phelan
Former GWS forward Jonathon Patton is yet to hit his straps for the Hawks this season

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has followed through on his pledge to remain patient with heralded recruit Jonathon Patton, who has had a quiet start to his career in brown and gold.

The master coach told reporters before Friday's final selection that he was unsure what his best attacking mix looked like - or whether, on current form, Patton was part of it.

But the former GWS forward will take on North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Sunday after Clarkson stuck with the same 22 that defeated Richmond in round three.

Patton has kicked three goals in three games this season, has averaged just under seven disposals a match and took three marks against the Tigers.

But the former No.1 draft pick, who has undergone three knee reconstructions, arrived at the Hawks having not played at senior level since round 15 of the 2018 season.

"The thing we need to be mindful of with him is he's played so little footy in the last two years," Clarkson said.

"Then the season he wants to come to a new club to restart his career it gets significantly interrupted with a pandemic.

"They're very unusual circumstances for him ... he's played three games for (us) and he needs a period of time just to get himself accustomed to the rigours of the game again given so much has changed since he last played.

"We need to give him a bit of time and patience, have that empathy and understanding for where he's at.

"He's still well below what we think he's capable of but he's made a contribution and we'll just work out what the balance of our side is."

Clarkson will take his side into the clash with a heavy heart following the death of club legend and friend John Kennedy Snr, who passed away on Thursday aged 91.

"It's just trying to work out the superlatives to best describe 'Kanga'," Clarkson said.

"But certainly the word that gets trotted out around here the most is 'godfather' because that's what he's been to our footy club.

"He's had an impact right across the game, particularly at two clubs but also in the industry.

"There are a lot of people who are very grateful for having had his influence."