The AFL world has been left gobsmacked by St Kilda’s decision to sack Brett Ratten as coach.
Saints president Andrew Bassat and chief executive Simon Lethlean will front reporters on Friday morning, where it’s expected they’ll confirm the club has parted ways with Ratten following a review of their football operations.
It comes just one day after the end of the trade period and over three months after Ratten signed a two-year extension when he was due to come out of contract at season’s end.
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Ratten took over as St Kilda caretaker coach after the 2019 mid-season sacking of Alan Richardson and led the Saints to the finals in his first full season of 2020.
But they failed to return to the top eight in the past two seasons, including in 2022 when they lost eight of their last 11 matches after sitting fourth on the ladder at Round 11 with an 8-3 record.
Ratten was previously the coach of Carlton between 2007 and 2012 before he was shockingly sacked from that role following the 2012 season, in which the Blues finished 10th — the same spot his Saints this year.
Contenders already flagged as possible Ratten replacements include club great Lenny Hayes, highly-rated Melbourne assistant Adem Yze and departing Giants assistant coach Mark McVeigh.
Ratten’s Saints contract in July was extended until at least the end of the 2024 season.
“As the leader of our men’s program, Brett has secured significant buy-in from his fellow coaches, staff and players alike,” Saints president Andrew Bassat said on July 8.
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“In addition to his strong football IQ, our players appreciate his ability to develop strong relationships, which he uses as a foundation to challenge each individual to get better and to deliver their role for the team.
“This balance, and the ability to unite his coaches, players and staff in a relentless quest for excellence makes Brett the best person to lead us towards our much longed-for second premiership.”