AAP AFL

Ratten shows value of recycled AFL coaches

By AAP Newswire

Brett Ratten has enhanced St Kilda's standing in the AFL and could soon change perceptions about sacked coaches in a league that has generally been unkind to those seeking a second chance.

Ratten made it clear last year he wanted to return the Saints to finals for the first time since 2011.

That goal is a long way off being realised, yet fans have every right to be bullish after an eye-catching win over ladder-leading Port Adelaide.

It would be a big tick for Ratten's coaching ability, but also Saints chief executive Matt Finnis and the panel that picked the former Carlton mentor.

Ratten guided the Blues to finals in 2009-11, was axed in 2012 then further honed his skills working as Alastair Clarkson's assistant during Hawthorn's premiership triumphs in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The 49-year-old's appointment bucked the trend, coming as Carlton, Adelaide, North Melbourne and Fremantle all opted to blood former assistants.

The Saints became the first club since Gold Coast, who hired former Sydney and Western Bulldogs mentor Rodney Eade in 2014, to bank on someone who had previously been fired as head coach of another team.

The same trends are not seen in the NBA, NFL, NRL and countless professional soccer leagues.

"We've been out of step with most professional sports in the northern hemisphere. We're failing to recognise the experience that second-time head coaches have got to offer," Mark Brayshaw, head of the AFL Coaches' Association, told AAP.

"In the northern hemisphere, it's a badge of honour. That experience is valued rather than discounted.

"If AFL club boards have shied away from coaches in the past because they believe them to be damaged goods then I think that would have been a mistake."

Brayshaw added he hopes Ratten does well "for all sorts of reasons".

"If Brett is successful at the Saints then I think that won't be lost on the other 17 clubs," he said.

Four-time premiership coach Clarkson, who mentored Ratten and many other head coaches, sings from the same song sheet.

"It's nearly a badge of honour in the US to have had a go at coaching and failed," Clarkson said last year, talking up Ratten's prospects before he secured the top job at St Kilda.

"You come back a much better coach second time around, sometimes third time around. Ratts is certainly that."

Clarkson cited the example of NFL guru Bill Belichick, who has coached the New England Patriots to a record six Super Bowl victories.

Belichick was famously let go as head coach when the Cleveland Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1995.

Many sacked AFL coaches no longer covet the unique pressure that comes with being in the hot seat, but Port assistant and former Brisbane mentor Michael Voss notably flagged an interest last year.