Ben Rutten will return to Richmond as an assistant coach for the 2023 season following his messy departure from Essendon.
The Tigers confirmed on Friday afternoon that Rutten would re-join their coaching staff following his four-year stint at the Bombers including two seasons as senior coach before being sacked last month with a year to run on his contract.
The 39-year old was an assistant at Punt Road from 2015-2018 and played a key role in the club’s drought-breaking 2017 flag win as defensive coach.
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Rutten was thrilled to get another opportunity at Richmond.
“Richmond is a great club, and I am still very familiar with a majority of the playing list and staff which makes me excited about 2023 already,” he said.
“I am looking forward to this fresh opportunity and the challenge of helping the club return to the top of the ladder.”
It comes after Rutten met with Tigers staffers including Damien Hardwick at the club’s headquarters days after his ugly exit from Tullamarine after Essendon’s 11th-hour bid for Alastair Clarkson backfired.
Richmond had an opening for an assistant after Adam Kingsley was appointed the Giants’ new senior boss.
Tigers football boss Tim Livingstone was pleased to welcome back Rutten into the fold.
“Ben is a terrific coach that is highly respected by many of our players that have already worked with him,” he said.
“We look forward to bringing his expertise back into our club and are excited about the benefit it will bring our playing group and broader football department.”
“We are all thrilled to have Ben along with his wife Kylie and boys Jack and Bernie back as part of the Richmond Football Club.”
Many of the AFL’s top coaches threw their support behind Rutten for the way the Bombers handled his dismissal.
Despite coaching his last game for Essendon in Round 23, he’ll be paid out his 2023 contract by the club.