Lewis praises Clarkson's loyalty after latest incident

Alastair Clarkson's unquestioned loyalty means Jordan Lewis can forgive his former AFL coach's notorious temper.

The new North Melbourne coach has been in trouble again, this time for a confrontation with a female reporter at the start of the month.

Clarkson spoke about the incident on Monday night and admitted there was no guarantee it would be the last time.

Lewis, who played in four premiership teams under Clarkson at Hawthorn, was asked on Tuesday if he'd have believed him had he said otherwise.

"I don't think he would have believed (it) himself," Lewis replied.

"That is what we loved at Hawthorn, that he'd go in and bat for his players every single time," Lewis said.

"At least that is a consistent part of the way he's held himself. It's part of the package."

Lewis, who was speaking at the launch of the Carlton Draft community football program, also acknowledged there was always scope for Clarkson to manage his temper better.

"He's aware of where he falls down ... but a lot of the time, when he gets in trouble, you can't anticipate what's going to happen and how he reacts to certain situations," Lewis said.

"Every time he has stepped out of line, he's shown remorse.

"Yes, it's on repeat, but it's still about education, even for someone who's been in the game for as long as he's been.

"You still can slip up every now and again, it's how you address it, it's how you try and manage that."

Lewis also said it was crucial for Clarkson to have strong people around him, such as long-time lieutenants Todd Viney and Brett Ratten.

The glory days that Lewis and Clarkson enjoyed at Hawthorn are long gone, with the Hawks now deep in a team rebuild under coach Sam Mitchell.

"In my own opinion, it was probably a phase they should have gone to a couple of years ago," Lewis said.

"I admire what Sam's doing with the young group. It's going to take a bit of pain.

"It takes a person of good character and a person of substance to be able to say 'no, we need to go in a different direction'."

Lewis attended Hawthorn's guernsey presentation on Sunday and was struck by the youth of the team.

"Be prepared to have some pain through the next couple of years," he said.

"But understand that the undercurrent and the substance that's going on out there, getting ex-players back and trying to build this culture, I think they're on track."