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Hawthorn and coach Alastair Clarkson to part ways at end of 2021

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Legendary coach Alastair Clarkson has confirmed he will depart Hawthorn at the end of the AFL season, a year earlier than originally planned.

The club has agreed to severe ties with their four-time premiership coach after 17 years, with Clarkson set to receive a full payout.

The 53-year-old fronted a press conference with Sam Mitchell, who will coach the Hawks from the end of this season, on Friday afternoon.

"We've come to the realisation that this footy club needed some fresh air from the end of 2021 onwards," Clarkson said.

"Our club hasn't performed anywhere near the way we would have liked for a whole heap of reasons.

"I'm really comfortable with where we are at.

"For anyone worrying about me, please don't - I'm a big boy and I'm very proud of what we've been able to achieve here."

Clarkson said he would take time out consider whether he continues in football after "riding off into the sunset".

"Now I've got 12 months to to sit back and take a breath and work out what the second half of my life is going to look like," he said.

He has previously been linked to the vacant Collingwood coaching position, while this decision could tempt Carlton to make a call on under-fire coach David Teague, amid the Blues' external review.

After taking the reins at Hawthorn in 2005, Clarkson coached the Hawks to the 2008 premiership, then a three-peat between 2013 and 2015, with Mitchell playing in all four flags.

The announcement comes a week after Clarkson delivered an impassioned monologue during his weekly press conference emphasising his commitment to coaching the Hawks through 2022 as part of a succession plan with Mitchell.

"I'll see through my commitment. I've always been that way. Once you make a commitment to someone you follow it through to the end," Clarkson said last Friday.

"My commitment to Sam Mitchell is through to the end of next year."

Mitchell pulled out of the running for Collingwood's senior coach vacancy ahead of the succession plan, a July 6 announcement confirming Clarkson would see out 2021 and 2022 before Mitchell took the reins in 2023

Both Clarkson and Mitchell had actively denied reports of a rift since the announcement.

"I probably shouldn't say it on radio, but I kind of get a bit pissed off with people saying that," Mitchell told SEN last Wednesday

"I've worked with Clarko for nearly 20 years and the fact that people would say that I'm trying to push him out is disrespectful to both of us because we've had a working relationship for such a long period of time."

With Hawthorn near the bottom of the ladder and outside of finals contention, Clarkson's last game in charge will be against Richmond in round 23.