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St Kilda president Andrew Bassat has given Brett Ratten a ringing endorsement as negotiations over the coach's new contract ramp up.
Ratten entered the final year of his existing deal under huge pressure to lift the club back into the AFL finals following an underwhelming 2021 campaign.
The 50-year-old has responded by steering the Saints (8-3) into fourth spot at the halfway point of the season.
He is now poised to win an extension that would take him into a fourth full season at the helm and beyond, after he first took over as caretaker in 2019.
"It wasn't just about results for Brett, it was always about the process, and it wasn't just about Brett, it was always about the team," Bassat told SEN radio on Thursday.
"What we're seeing, not just in the win-loss, but in how we're going about it and the fact the players are clearly playing for each other and playing for the club, the system and the game plan is working and everyone's working cohesively.
"I think it makes sense to keep this team together.
"We'll kick that (contract) conversation off now."
Bassat added unnecessary weight on Ratten's shoulders with his bold call during a poor run last year that 2022 was when the Saints' premiership window would open.
The comment came not long before Melbourne's grand final triumph left St Kilda with the competition's longest flag drought, which dates back to 1966.
The hot start under Ratten this season has raised hope that success isn't too far away.
"We've always said that Brett Ratten will be our long-term coach and be the coach that hopefully takes us to our long-awaited second flag," Bassat said.
"We hope he's there long-term but what the actual contract term is, I'll leave that to others."
Bassat will not put a timeline on when Ratten's new deal will be struck.
"It doesn't really matter in the long-term scheme of things," Bassat said.
"We're really confident Brett knows where he stands and we're in a good spot."