Stevens is an Andy man to lead Patties

ST PATRICK’S has again looked from within to fill its coaching position, with Andy Stevens appointed to the role.

Stevens’ one-year deal as playing coach was officially ticked off this week, with the star winger replacing John Ritchie.

Stevens will be the Albury-Wodonga Football Association club’s fourth coach in four seasons, with Alex Vaskovic, Javi Martinez and Ritchie all holding the position.

The 27-year-old said the expectation for next season would be a semi-final appearance.

Patties finished eighth in the league in 2012 and were knocked out of the cup race in the second week after a 2-0 loss in Wangaratta to eventual winner Albury United.

“Winning that first final (against league champion Boomers FC) was really good,” Stevens said.

“I said at our presentation night that that’s what we should be aiming for as a minimum, the semis.

“That finish to the year was really good.”

But Stevens has his work cut out, with captain Matt Turner, defender Josh Crowley and keeper Lachlan McDonald departing, while the playing futures of Jesse Marcuzzi, Mick Morley and Martinez are uncertain.

Stevens hopes Ritchie will stay on as a player.

“I’m meeting the boys on Sunday to see where we are at,” he said.

“We’ve lost our army boys, Matt, Josh and Lachie, they’re big losses.”

Stevens will enter his first coaching appointment after a couple of outstanding seasons.

He finished 2012 as the league’s joint leading goalscorer with Wodonga Diamonds youngster Jarrod Herzina on 16, while he played for the AWFA in its 3-0 loss to A-League side Melbourne Heart last year.

“He’s a terrific young guy,” Patties president John Mahoney said.

“He’s been a leader within the group for seven years and we think he will make a fantastic leader of our club.”

New St Pat's coach Andy Stevens. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

New St Pat's coach Andy Stevens. Picture: KYLIE ESLER