St Kilda say they cannot address regret over the July re-signing of Brett Ratten despite deciding to sack him this week, explaining the club’s review has revealed a senior manager is with “other properties” is required.
Ratten was released less than 100 days after receiving a two-year contract extension, while the call came late enough that he was still attending recruiting calls during the AFL trade period and ahead of next month’s draft.
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Saints President Andrew Bassat said the decision was final after Ratten was given the “real opportunity” this week to convince them that seeking “a new leadership style and a new voice” was wrong.
“If we as a club regret this (contract extension) afterwards, we cannot allow that regret to influence our decisions about the future,” Bassat told reporters on Friday.
“I will be honest as there are a lot of things that we (as a club) need to get better at. We can’t say that Brett was absolutely set for success. That makes this decision even harder.
“But we still felt that even with a better setup, there were coaches around him with potentially different qualities that gave us a far better chance of success.
“We admitted we did something wrong. We far prefer to get it right and take criticism rather than push ahead because we don’t want to look silly.”
The President argued that results in the first half of the year – St Kilda started 8-3 and reversed that record in the last 11 games of the season – masked process problems only revealed in his report.
Lethlean said the extension was “right at the time” to support Rats and provide the reassurance they promised earlier in the year.
“You crystal ball, this might be the wrong decision. The wrong decision now would be to continue when we need to do better. We didn’t make it to the final,” said managing director Simon Lethlean.
The Saints’ power brokers insisted they have not spoken to any candidate, brushing off concerns about a weakened field after North Melbourne, GWS and Essendon named Alastair Clarkson, Adam Kingsley and Brad Scott as their respective senior coaches.
Ross Lyon has been floated in a stunning comeback for Fremantle 11 years after leaving St Kilda, while club greats Lenny Hayes and Robert Harvey could also be there.
“It’s not fair to say we know our man. We know the qualities we’re looking for,” Lethlean said.
“(The review) took as long as it took to figure out what we needed and give stakeholders an opportunity to respond, listen to the results, and give their opinions on how they feel about themselves and the program could improve.
“Is the timing ideal? Maybe not, but we didn’t want to rush it to fit the times of other parts of the industry.”
With the vetting results released in the coming days, Bassat and Lethlean will immediately intensify their search for their next coach and expect an appointment within weeks.
The president said new football boss Geoff Walsh was not involved in the decision.
Lethlean balked when asked if Ratten would still have been sacked if the club’s pitch to recruit Collingwood star Jordan De Goey had been successful.
“We didn’t sign Jordan De Goey. This review has been running since July, it’s really irrelevant to talk about Jordan De Goey,” he said.
St Kilda Coaching Candidates
The Melbourne assistant came close to getting the job at Essendon but missed out on Brad Scott. He was also in the mix for the GWS job before Adam Kingsley was appointed. Will there be a third stroke of luck for the former demon? Yze spent six years at Hawthorn under Alastair Clarkson before joining Melbourne for the 2021 Premier League season.
Could the Saints legend return to the club as the next manager? Harvey is currently at Hawthorn as an assistant coach, having spent a decade at Collingwood, including nine games as caretaker manager in 2021 following the departure of Nathan Buckley. Harvey’s appointment will no doubt be a hit with fans.
Another fan favorite could also feature after returning to the club as an assistant coach this year. Hayes, who has played 297 games for the club, has been an assistant at GWS for five years.
The senior assistant coach is seeking a new role after leaving the Giants last week. He was caretaker manager for GWS this year after Leon Cameron left and was in contention for the full-time role before Adam Kingsley was appointed.
The veteran manager has not been in the game since his release from Fremantle in 2019. Lyon coached the Saints for five years, guiding the club to the Grand Finals in 2009 and 2010 before joining Dockers in late 2011. The 56-year-old is consistently linked with vacancies but has yet to throw his hat in the ring. Will the Saints bring him back?
Former St Kilda manager Grant Thomas floated the idea that the club should go after the Western Bulldogs manager. Beveridge, who retired from playing with the Saints, has been the Dogs coach for eight years. He won the Premiership in 2016 and has been in the final for the last four seasons.
The Bombers legend wants to return to coaching but would it be at a club other than Essendon? Hird missed Brad Scott for the Dons role and it remains to be seen if he would throw Hit Hat in the ring. He spent some time with the Giants this year as a part-time assistant coach.
Left the Giants in mid-this year after a nine-year coaching career during which he led the club to the Grand Finals in 2019 and reached the Finals four more times. Might appeal to the Saints as an experienced option.
The former Adelaide manager has been a senior assistant with the Swans for the past two years. He led the Crows to a grand final in 2017 in his second season in charge, but left the club just two years later. Pyke spoke to the Essendon during their trainer hunt, but did not pursue the role.
https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/st-kilda-hit-back-at-crystal-ball-criticism-as-search-for-next-coach-begins-c-8543594 Brett Ratten sacked: St Kilda deny ‘Crystal Ball’ criticism as Ross Lyon and Robert Harvey emerge as coaching candidates