St Kilda has become the third AFL club to join the chase for a new coach this season after Alan Richardson’s 127-game tenure came to an end.
The decision to part ways was made late on Monday after discussions involving the 54-year-old Richardson, Saints CEO Matt Finnis and board members.
The players were informed on Tuesday morning, three days after the Saints lost by 27 points to Geelong, ending any mathematical chance they had of qualifying for the finals.
Former Carlton head coach and Saints assistant Brett Ratten has been appointed caretaker coach for the remainder of the 2019 campaign.
Richardson replaced Scott Watters before the 2014 season but was unable to lift the Saints back into the finals during his time at the helm.
The club started the 2019 season brightly with four wins from its opening five matches before tailing off.
Richardson’s task this year was made more difficult by long-term injuries to key players, including Jake Carlisle, Jarryn Geary, Dan Hannebery and Dylan Roberton, and multiple best-and-fairest winner Jack Steven’s battle with mental health issues.
“Alan’s selflessness and focus on what is right for the playing group and club has always been immense, but it’s perhaps been best demonstrated in the past two days through his decision to step aside and allow the club the time and space to find the next coach of the St Kilda Football Club,” club president Andrew Bassat said.
“There is no escaping the significant setbacks we have faced this year in regards to player availability, and these, as you would expect, have been taken into account in our decision.
“Ultimately, after six years under Alan’s leadership, the team performance and the position in which we find ourselves isn’t where it needs to be.
“This responsibility doesn’t just rest with the senior coach, and indeed we feel that the performance of Alan and the rest of the coaching group in adverse circumstances this year is to be commended.
“However, after significant consideration, we believe the time is right to introduce a new voice to oversee the next stage in our development and drive us forward.”
North Melbourne and Carlton are also searching for new coaches after parting ways with Brad Scott and Brendon Bolton.
Richardson and Finnis will front a media conference at the club’s Moorabbin headquarters at 12.30pm (AEST) on Tuesday.