It is AFL prediction season, as the trade window has closed and the draft window has yet to open, although it could rightly be argued that any day of the week with the word day in it is as good a day for predictions as any.
The man with the target on his back is St. Kilda Saints Coach Alan Richardson. Brownlow Medal (2008) winner Adam Cooney is of the opinion that as badly as was Richardson under the pump in 2018, the situation is only going to worsen.
Of Richardson’s prospects, Cooney told Sportsday SA, “I think he will last the season (2019) but I don’t think he’ll last the season after that. I just don’t see where the improvement comes from for the Saints.”
St. Kilda won just four games in the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition. It could have been worse, as the Saints beat the Gold Coast Suns and the Melbourne Demons by two points in each of those wins and finished the season ahead of only Gold Coast and Carlton.
Finishing below Brisbane, for a Victorian club, is akin to having a root canal performed without the aid of local anesthesia.
During the trade period, the Saints acquired Dan Haneberry from GWS and they also went out to get Brett Ratten as an assistant coach.
Ratten worked with Richardson at Carlton, when Ratten was the head coach between 2007 and 2012, when Carlton was respectable, or at least did not receive any wooden spoons.
Carlton has not earned a premiership since 1995.
Under Ratten, the Blues played finals in 2011 after finishing fifth on the ladder, and 2009, when they finished seventh.
Richardson came along in 2014 and the Saints’ best finish during his five-year tenure was in 2016, when the Saints finished ninth, but were edged out of the finals by North Melbourne on the basis of percentage.