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Brett Ratten’s axing is a damning reflection on St Kilda


Just three months ago, Brett Ratten inked a new two-year contract to continue as St Kilda coach. He’s now been sacked, with the club’s handling of the situation a glaring hint at more deep-rooted issues.

You could be forgiven if you were shocked at the news that St Kilda had sacked its coach Brett Ratten.

Just three months ago, he re-signed with the Saints – at that point in the season, they were in ninth spot on the ladder, equal on points with the seventh-placed Western Bulldogs.

The remainder of the Saints’ season was by no means a dramatic collapse; they recorded three more wins and finished just one place lower on the ladder with 11 wins for the year.

Brett Ratten axed by St Kilda

In July, the approach from the club was strong and confident in Ratten as its coach, with president Andrew Bassat saying that Ratten had “secured significant buy-in from his fellow coaches, staff and players alike.”

That was an emphatically positive endorsement, but the club’s approach now is starkly and jarringly different.

Addressing the media on Friday after the news broke out on Thursday night, Bassat and newly-appointed CEO Simon Lethlean forced a hard company line.

This is arguably the most damning aspect of Ratten’s sacking. The club and its members are evidently larger entities than the coach as a single person, but given the centrality of a head coach to the operation of a club and its football, this is an incredibly harsh and jarring quote to hear.

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The faith that was clearly and publicly placed in Ratten merely months ago has been blatantly abandoned.

St Kilda as an organisation is entitled to act in its best interests in terms of its coaching and organisational structures.

But given its best interest just months ago was renewing Ratten’s contract, the players, fans, and Ratten himself all have every right to feel blindsided and let down.

It hints that there’s something deeply problematic with St Kilda’s off-field management that this situation has taken place; let alone that it’s been deemed the best path for the club to take.

Given Ratten’s credentials and experience, it’s unlikely that he’ll be out of a job for long.

But the situation at the Saints is jarring, and Ratten has certainly been left hanging, hung out to dry, thrown under the bus.

Pick your metaphor – they’re all applicable.

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