West Coast formally inquired with Hawthorn about the position of coach Alastair Clarkson three weeks ago and were told that Clarkson was contracted and unavailable. 

Hawthorn chief executive Stuart Fox was contacted by Eagles' chief executive Trevor Nisbett and asked whether Clarkson was available. Fox told Nisbett that Clarkson was contracted and very much required at Hawthorn.

On Thursday, after the Hawks doused speculation about Clarkson leaving after the grand final, Nisbett emailed Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold and described the conversation between the two chief executives.

Newbold confirmed on Thursday evening that the Eagles' boss had ''approached Foxy to see if he [Clarkson] was available.'' Newbold added, ''Trevor was told him he was unavailable.''

West Coast chairman Alan Cransberg told Fairfax Media that the Eagles ''respected'' the fact that Clarkson had a contract with Hawthorn. ''The guy's on a contract, so it's unlikely,'' he said of the prospect of Clarkson coaching West Coast.

While Clarkson appears certain to remain with the Hawks, who want him to coach them again regardless of the outcome on Saturday, Hawthorn's senior assistant Adam Simpson will be interviewed by the Eagles next week.

Simpson, who also is a candidate to be the understudy to Paul Roos at Melbourne - a role that would see the understudy take over as coach of Melbourne in two or three years - is among four or five candidates that the Eagles plan to interview next week.

Fremantle's assistant and former West Coast great Peter Sumich is another candidate to replace John Worsfold, who stood down as coach at the end of the season.

The Eagles are taking their time in finding a new coach, and can speak in depth to the likes of Simpson and Sumich - who are heavily involved in their clubs' grand final preparations - next week.

Cransberg would not discuss which candidates were being interviewed.

''I'm pretty sure there will be some very good candidates,'' he said.

West Coast is using some outside consultants to assist the club in its process, in which Nisbett and new football operations chief Craig Vozzo are on the panel to select the coach, along with two other members of the West Coast board.