Mateship aside as Bolton takes on Hawks

Bruce Matthews
Carlton coach Brendon Bolton says he has gone to school on the Hawks' last AFL loss to Brisbane

Carlton coach Brendon Bolton and Hawthorn counterpart Alastair Clarkson won't have any trouble putting a close friendship on hold at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Bolton, an assistant to Clarkson during the Hawks' premiership trifecta, regularly catches up with his old boss when their sons play in the same junior football team.

"Everyone who had that period at Hawthorn will forever be indebted to that environment we were in and be indebted to Clarko for that opportunity, but game day we box on," Bolton said before the Blues final training run on Saturday morning.

"We're good friends off the field, but he's a competitive beast and so am I. Our young fellows are at the same local footy club, so I saw him there and had a bit of a chat."

Bolton has closely studied what Brisbane, coached by former Hawks football manager Chris Fagan, focused on to take apart Hawthorn in Launceston last round.

"They (Lions) won the major of the contested work that day and also limited some of their ball movement," said Bolton. "We know how damaging Hawthorn can be if they're given time and space, they have so many good ball-users.

"They (Lions) got on top in the contested side of the game and you can learn from that. But it's one thing to know what to do, you have to go out and implement it and we'll be determined to do that."

Carlton will tap into former Port Adelaide vice-captain Matthew Lobbe's leadership skills as much as his ruck work to replace rested big man Matthew Kreuzer for his debut AFL game with the Blues.

"Most of us remember when Port were up and about, he has a good leap and gets his hands on it first quite often," said Bolton.

"He has had to persevere this year with some injuries and inconsistency, but he has built his game. He also brings great leadership, he's a good organiser on the field and I'm really keen to see how that goes."