Saints add two years to coach’s AFL deal

Alan Richardson’s promising start as St Kilda coach has earned him a two-year contract extension at the rebuilding AFL club.

The new deal, announced late on Thursday night, means Richardson will be in charge at least until the end of the 2016 season.

Richardson took over in November two years ago after the post-season sacking of Scott Watters.

The Saints won four games last year and already have five wins this season, including the 110-point mauling of Essendon in round 14.

“There are exciting things happening right across our club and I am thrilled to be a part of it for at least the next three years,” Richardson said in a club statement.

“I have high expectations of this playing group and with the backing of a united and supportive board and executive, I am confident we will return to a period of success in the near future.

The Saints plummeted on and off the field after losing the 2009-10 grand finals under Ross Lyon.

But there have been definite signs of life in the last few months.

“The past 12 months at St Kilda have been characterised by smart decisions and important milestones and today is another example of that,” said president Peter Summers.

Saints chief executive Matt Finnis said there was never any doubt that they wanted a longer-term deal with Richardson.

“The St Kilda board made a smart decision to appoint Alan as senior coach and, knowing him far better as we do now, we have even more confidence that he is the right man for the job,” Finnis said.

“Alan is not just committed to building an exceptional team, he wants to build an exceptional club.

“We are very confident in his approach and plans and (this) announcement recognises the importance of this in the club’s longer-term strategy.”

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