At a glance:

  • Brett Ratten touches on his second chance as a senior coach on the In the Game podcast.
  • Ratten says he's returning to the senior coaching ranks for St Kilda, himself, his family and ex-coaches.
  • The 48-year-old says he wants to be true to who he is. 

In returning permanently to the AFL's senior coaching ranks this year, Brett Ratten is doing it for St Kilda, himself, his family, and one other oft-discarded group.

The ex-coaches who have been spat out of the system after one stint.

"I suppose I'm the lucky one," Ratten said on In The Game with Damian Barrett.

"You know, they could have picked out 'Vossy' (Michael Voss) or Matty Knights or other coaches that have done it.

"Clarko (Alastair Clarkson) was always pushing for coaches to get a second chance and really looked at the NFL and what happens over there with older coaches and the wisdom that they have.

"Soccer clubs around the world are just throwing coaches out, but they all get second chances. Our game is a little bit unique with, you know, only 18 jobs and that's it.  So I'm very fortunate. And to think that I think the last one that didn't coach to a Grand Final to get a second chance was Terry Wallace, and that was maybe 20 years ago."

Wallace took the Western Bulldogs to consecutive preliminary finals in 1997-98 during his 1996-2002 stint, before being appointed coach of Richmond from 2005-09.

For the second time in his life, Ratten won the main coaching job at a club after a six-match stint as an interim. In 2007, he took over from Denis Pagan at Carlton, last year he replaced Alan Richardson at the Saints.

He adopted a novel approach to the second opportunity, learning from the mistakes he now knows he made during his time at Carlton, which ended after the 2012 season.

"Sometimes you try and be somebody you're not, and I just said 'I'll just be myself and that'll get me the job or it won't get me the job'," Ratten said.

"So I didn't want to try and become Clarko or David Parkin or Denis Pagan or any of those coaches. I just wanted to be myself.

"And I think sometimes, even being the young coach, and I think maybe some of the others that have been in that space might have reflected and said, 'Geez, maybe I tried to be a bit too much like Leigh Matthews', or somebody else that had a huge influence on them, and it might not have been my true self.

"So I wanted to make sure that I was as true to myself and the players as well.

Brett Ratten in his new colours.


"There was no door closed (when Ratten became the Saints' interim coach). It was all open to say, 'this is how I operate, I'm just going to be myself'.

"I said to the players, 'I'm going to coach like I'm going to be here next year'. I said that straight away, whether I get the job or don't, that'll be up to the club. So I had that frame of mind straight away."

In the In the Game interview, Ratten also said:

  • He was all-in on the six off-season recruits, headed by Bradley Hill, and equally excited by having access to 2019-injured players Jake Carlisle, Dan Hannebery and Dylan Roberton
  • His only expectation on boom 2018 recruit Max King was for him "to get out there and compete and get a taste of AFL football"
  • He would encourage his players to play with natural instinct … "They (often) come to a football club and they've got all this flair and talent and we sort of beat it out of them a bit … for a coach in the second time around, I really want to push the flair, let them play on their natural talents."