ALAN Richardson’s bold game of brinkmanship has paid off, with St Kilda to announce him as its new coach today.
The former Collingwood player and long-time assistant coach last night met St Kilda’s selection committee after being given assurances he would be appointed senior coach.
The club will announce his appointment this morning after board approval, an amazing development after Richardson officially stated on Tuesday night that he would not be interviewed.
St Kilda was adamant last night that yesterday’s interview process was real, but Port Adelaide insiders said he had been told he would receive the job before his interview.
The Power was disappointed to lose its director of coaching but proud it had enhanced the senior prospects of Richardson.
Richardson’s determination not to be interviewed forced St Kilda’s hand, with the coaching panel effectively luring him to Melbourne under the assurance of being appointed.
St Kilda’s board was expected to ratify his appointment late last night or this morning before a press conference today.
Mark Williams was the beaten favourite after he made it clear he needed a five-¬season contract to cross from Richmond.
That demand was made in last Friday’s interview with the Saints.
It was believed to have disconcerted several Saints officials who were not won over by the forceful premiership coach.
Williams was a dominant presence at Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney, not ideal at a club replacing an autocratic coach in Scott Watters.
Richmond late yesterday had not officially been told Williams had missed out but was already preparing for him to again lead their development team next year.
Richardson had made it clear he would not reapply for St Kilda’s job after narrowly missing out in 2011 to Watters, who was sacked a fortnight ago.
Despite his reluctance, St Kilda made it apparent how desperate it was to lure him, arguing its coaching selection panel was dramatically different to the one that appointed Watters.
He resisted privately and publicly, forcing the Saints give him assurances before he was interviewed.
Richardson, who agonisingly missed the 1990 premiership for Collingwood with injury, has forged an elite reputation at Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs.
He was in the last three candidates for the Richmond job won by Damien Hardwick and after so many near-misses was determined not to develop a reputation as an also-ran.
St Kilda has been desperate to appoint a new coach by Monday, with the Saints to take picks 3, 18 and 19 at next Thursday’s national draft.
Richardson is one of the pioneers of player development after being the head of Collingwood’s player development academy under Mick Malthouse.
He eventually moved to Carlton after a strained relationship with Malthouse, then moved on to Port Adelaide last year.
But while he and Ken Hinkley were overlooked by St Kilda in 2011, they united as Port Adelaide made a rampaging run to last year’s semi-finals.
Simon McPhee and Adam Kingsley, who were interviewed after the strong endorsement of the players, have been told they will not be the senior coach.
The expected appointment of Richardson mirrors Port Adelaide’s appointment last year of Hinkley, who was initially resistant to the interview process.
It again underlines the weakness of the coaching appointment process given Melbourne too was surprised candidates did not come forward for its succession plan.
Too many assistants fear they will be tainted by repeatedly being interviewed for senior roles, so the best candidates do not always get appointed.
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