Sport AFL Sainted: Alan Richardson gets the nod
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Sainted: Alan Richardson gets the nod

Alan Richardson
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Alan Richardson has been appointed as the new coach of AFL club St Kilda, replacing the sacked Scott Watters.

Richardson, 48, said it was a “great honour” to earn an AFL senior coaching position.

“The direction the club has already started taking in terms of the list is something that really excites me,” he said.

“It is an incredible honour to coach this really proud club.

“It has been a real journey for me from a coaching perspective. It’s been my aspiration to coach my own team for close on 10 to 12 years now.

“To finally get that opportunity is something that I’m incredibly excited about.

“I just couldn’t pass up on the opportunity.”

Richardson has been strongly praised by Port coach Ken Hinkley after the Power surged from 14th last year to fifth in 2013 in Richardson’s first season at the club as director of coaching.

A former assistant at Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon and Western Bulldogs, the tough defender played 114 games for the Magpies and missed the 1990 grand final through injury.  

Richardson, who was overlooked for the St Kilda job two years ago when the Saints opted for Scott Watters, had initially told Port he was not interested in applying for the Saints’ job again.

However by Wednesday morning he had informed the Port management he had reconsidered his position.

Port chairman David Koch said on Thursday the club would do all it could to retain Richardson, who was contracted at Alberton for another two years.

Koch tweeted that the two clubs had reached a financial arrangement to help Port cover the costs of finding a replacement, which was later deleted, and then added that the AFL would draw up a protocol to deal with similar issues in future.

 

Port later released a statement congratulating Richardson on his appointment.

“On behalf of everyone at Port Adelaide I wish Alan all the very best in his new role as senior coach of St Kilda,” Port chief executive Keith Thomas said.

“Alan has been outstanding in his role as director of coaching and strategy here this season and has been important to our resurgence as a club.

“Alan has been very patient in waiting for a senior coaching opportunity and now that he has his chance we hope it is a success for him and his family.”

Thomas did, however, fire a shot at the Saints for the timing of their decision to approach Richardson.

“We are also frustrated by this late development caused by St Kilda’s delayed decision-making process,” he said.

“As with any club, a significant change to our coaching structure on the eve of pre-season is disruptive to our club’s football program and planning cycle.”

Richmond senior development coach Mark Williams, who guided Port to their only AFL flag in 2004, had previously been favoured for the top job at St Kilda.

But it’s understood the Saints baulked at Williams’ request for a five-year contract.

The Saints finished third-last in 2013 with a 5-17 win-loss record and will have three top-20 picks in the November 21 national draft including pick three.