Renowned WAFL coach Tony Micale looks set to rejoin AFL ranks, with speculation mounting in Melbourne last night that he was close to agreement on a two-year deal to head to St Kilda in a support role for Scott Watters.
The new role, believed to be a mix between development coaching and some AFL assistant responsibilities on game day, could be confirmed as early as next week.
The 63-year-old Micale is the most revered of the current WAFL coaches after taking three different clubs to six grand finals for four premierships between 1997 and 2002.
Having carved out a solid playing career, which included the 1974 premiership at East Fremantle, Micale was quick to make an impact as a coach.
He was a beaten coach in the grand final while at East Fremantle in 1997 and at South Fremantle in 1999. He won with the Sharks in 1998 and then collected a hat-trick of flags at East Perth in 2000, 2001 and 2002 before taking an assistant coaching role at West Coast.
He was part of the grand final loss to Sydney in 2005 and a senior assistant in the premiership win of 2006, when they beat the Swans in another thriller.
Micale was named AFL assistant coach of the year in 2007 but returned to coach East Perth in 2009.
He took the Royals into the 2010 preliminary final and back into the finals again this year. He passed the 250-game mark for matches coached at WAFL level this season.
Micale was keenly pursued by Watters at St Kilda and Brisbane for an assistant's role 12 months ago but opted to stay in Perth after a year marred by family tragedies, including the sudden death of his son Josh.