St Kilda has locked in Brett Ratten as its AFL senior coach, with his appointment to be made official on Friday.
The Saints board met for three hours on Thursday night at the club’s Moorabbin headquarters and confirmed its coaching sub-committee’s recommendation.
Ratten is the third caretaker coach this season to win the role permanently, following Rhyce Shaw at North Melbourne and then David Teague at Carlton.
He was the strong favourite to coach the Saints beyond this year after taking over from Alan Richardson for the last six rounds of the season and leading them to three wins.
It is the second senior role for the 48-year-old after he was in charge at Carlton from 2007 until his sacking in 2012.
He then served as an assistant under Alastair Clarkson at Hawthorn before joining the Saints this year, also as an assistant coach.
His two main rivals for the Saints senior job were understood to be two current Collingwood assistants, Justin Longmuir and St Kilda great Robert Harvey.
Saints chief executive Matt Finnis was giving nothing away after the board meeting.
“I can’t confirm that (Ratten’s appointment) – we’ve been running a process to appoint our next senior coach for some time now and we’re obviously at the pointy end of that,” Finnis said.
“When we have an announcement to make, we’ll let everybody know.”
Ratten’s appointment will leave Fremantle as the only team currently without a senior coach, following last month’s sacking of Ross Lyon.
Ratten played 255 games for Carlton between 1990 and 2003 and won the club best-and-fairest award in 1995, its most recent premiership.
He also captained the Blues in his last two seasons.
Ratten then joined Melbourne as an assistant coach for two years, before taking over the senior role at Norwood in Melbourne’s Eastern Football League.
From there he returned to the Blues in 2007 as an assistant coach.
Ratten took over as caretaker coach at Carlton for the end of the 2007 season, after Denis Pagan was sacked.
He took the Blues to the finals from 2009 to 11 but was sacked after they finished 10th in 2012.
Ratten was an assistant coach at Hawthorn for their 2013-15 premiership three-peat.
But his time at Hawthorn was also marked by personal tragedy, when his teenage son Cooper was killed in a 2015 car accident.
Ratten has a 51 per cent winning record as an AFL senior coach and has one win from four finals at Carlton.