Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is interviewed by Dennis Cometti of Channel Seven before the game. Photo: Getty Images
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson on Friday night recalled that he could not feel his feet the last time he walked across Adelaide Oval.
"I did today, thank goodness," he said.
Now recovered from Guillian-Barré Syndrome, a rare immune disease that struck him after the game against Port Adelaide in round 10, Clarkson and the Hawks had a great day.
AFL Round 17 Adelaide v Hawthorn
See match highlights from the round 17 match at the Adelaide Oval by Getty Images. Photo: Getty Images
The injury-ridden Hawks put on a classic display to answer the mounting criticism that they are not a top-four side, beating a determined Adelaide by 12 points.
Clarkson indicated he at least enjoyed the mental break when the illness sidelined him.
"I was actually surprised," he said. "Patience is not a good virtue for any coach, particularly me, but I was pleasantly surprised how patient I needed to be during that time.
"When you have a significant illness, and you know the ramifications if you have a severe bout of it... I just had to respect the illness and get myself right. The club was in great hands."
The players now have a break, with their next game being against the Sydney Swans at the MCG on Saturday, July 26 - the second week of the split round.
"The coach doesn't need a break; he's had a spell for a while, I'm raring to go," Clarkson joked. "It will assist some of our players.
"(Brad) Sewell had a two-three week hamstring; now it's one or two. Some of the warriors who have played a fair amount of footy for us during the course of the year, it will assist."
The Hawks expect to regain Josh Gibson, Bradley Hill and possibly Sewell for the top of the ladder clash.
Clarkson was proud of his players' performance, especially the spirit they demonstrated.
"We were really disappointed with how we performed last week (losing to North Melbourne by 20 points) on a whole number of fronts," he said.
"It seemed we were unprepared for that battle, but tonight we were ready for the assault."
Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson lamented the turnovers under the pressure applied by Hawthorn.
"We won't give up fighting," he said of his team's increasingly tough battle to make the finals.
Scott Thompson has a back-related hamstring issue - the other hamstring that kept him in doubt in the lead-up to the Hawthorn game. The Crows expect to regain David Mackay for the match against Collingwood at the MCG on Sunday, July 27.