Saints coach withstands pressure to re-sign as ‘best person’ to lead club to ‘desired’ second flag

Brett Ratten will remain St Kilda’s coach for at least two more seasons, after leading the Saints back to the finals this year.

St Kilda announced Ratten’s new deal on Friday morning, after he first took over as Alan Richardson’s replacement at short notice in 2019 and went on to win the job outright.

His teams have won 90 of the 175 games he has coached and played in four final series.

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The former champion Carlton midfielder, who also coached the Blues for five seasons, was under extreme pressure to keep his job this year.

Saints chairman Andrew Bassat said Ratten, who started as a senior assistant at St Kilda, had proved he was the “best person” to help the club move forward.

Brett Ratten has put the Saints back on track in 2022. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“As the leader of our men’s program, Brett has secured significant buy-in from his fellow coaches, staff and players,” Bassat said.

“Besides his strong football IQ; our players appreciate his ability to develop strong relationships, which he uses as a foundation to challenge each individual to become better and fulfill their role for the team.

“This balance and ability to unite his coaches, players and staff in a relentless quest for excellence makes Brett the best person to lead us into our much-anticipated second premiership.”

Ratten, 50, was widely acclaimed for St Kilda’s successful 2020 season, as it not only reached the final in the Covid-interrupted campaign, but also beat the Bulldogs to reach the second week.

But the Saints dropped to 10th in a disappointing follow-up last year, before losing in Round 1 to a Collingwood team that finished 17th last season and had a new coach in Craig McRae.

Brett Ratten has developed strong relationships with St Kilda players and staff. Photo: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

What seemed like a bad result at the time doesn’t look like it now, with the much-improved Magpies in sixth place with a 10-5 record.

St Kilda has a superior percentage to Collingwood, but with one win less and barely outside the top eight.

The turnaround is often attributed to some candid club-wide gatherings midway through last season that set in motion a series of changes.

“We’ve seen Brett adapt and grow since he took on the senior coach position for the 2020 season,” Bassat said.

“His return to the senior coaching seat has not been easy, dealing with two years of Covid interruptions, life at the hub and unavailability of players and staff due to injury and illness.

Brett Ratten hopes to coach St Kilda’s second flag. Photo: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

His focus on the continuous improvement of not only our players, but also his colleagues and himself has always been there.

“We must be relentless and embrace every day as an opportunity to improve. Brett exemplifies this urgency on a daily basis, not only through his coaching, but through the transparent and authentic way he gets the best out of those around him.

“His genuine conviction and deep understanding of where we all want this club to go is evident in every decision he makes, and even more so in the way he takes others with him.

“Brett and his family embody the spirit of the Saints, and I’m proud of him leading us forward.”

Ratten also had assistant coaching stops in Melbourne, Carlton and Hawthorn, where he was part of the Hawks’ flag three-peat, in addition to coaching Norwood in 2006.

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