'No hesitation': Saints give coach extension

St Kilda president Peter Summers said the Saints' board had "no hesitation" in giving the tick of approval for Alan Richardson to be re-signed until the end of 2020.

Richardson is poised to become St Kilda's second longest-serving coach, with the Saints confirming Richardson's new deal at their best and fairest count on Friday night.

Richardson was already tied to the club until the end of 2018, but has inked a two-year contract extension, which would take him to the end of his seventh year with the club.

From a wooden spoon in his first year of 2014, Richardson has taken the Saints to the edge of finals contention in the past two years, however the club has still not featured in finals since 2011.

But Summers said the club was confident the right man was already at the helm. "After considering all the factors carefully, the board had no hesitation in endorsing the extension of Alan's contract for a further two years," Summers said.

"The experience, knowledge, structure and commitment he has brought to our club over the past four years has been outstanding and we know moving forward he's the right person to lead our football program.

"Alan is highly respected externally, but even more so internally. He leads an experienced coaching team within our football department, and has a strong relationship with our playing group, the executive team, St Kilda staff and our many corporate and community partners.

"We, along with our loyal members and supporters, were disappointed not to play finals this season, but we have great faith in the direction the team is heading under Alan's leadership.

"Given the improvement we saw in a number of areas and individuals, and our strong draft position, we are incredibly excited for what the future holds."

The long-time assistant coach and former Collingwood player has led the Saints in 88 games. He is only 35 games off equalling Grant Thomas as the Saints' second longest-serving coach. Allan Jeans - the Saints' only premiership coach - is the club leader with 332.

The decision to re-sign Richardson follows Collingwood's call to extend Nathan Buckley's contract as senior coach despite also failing to take his team to the finals in four consecutive seasons.

Richardson remained upbeat despite St Kilda's 11th-place finish in 2017.

"I'm really excited about what this group can achieve in the future," Richardson said.

"We were disappointed not to reach the finals this season given the strong position we were in midyear. But we did see improvement on many fronts and, importantly, a number of individuals took steps in the right direction.

"We proved as a team that when at our best we could compete with anyone, but we weren't able to sustain the level of consistency needed to become a regular finals side.

"We've got a core group of players entering the stage of their careers where they generally find that consistency, and an experienced coaching group to support and lead them.

"There is a really strong appetite from all of us to get to work over the pre-season and address the areas we know we need to work on."

This story 'No hesitation': Saints give coach extension first appeared on The Age.