Rugby League

Oliver Gildart warns critics not to write off Wigan Warriors’ title prospects

Oliver Gildart has a clear message for Wigan’s doubters – don’t write us off yet.

Last year’s Grand Finalists have stumbled through much of this season, losing key attacking players to injury and scoring fewer points per game than any other team. But the Warriors still clinched a top four spot and now stand just two wins away from Old Trafford ahead of Thursday's opening play-off clash with Leeds.

Centre Gildart said: “It’s been tough – everyone expects you to win things at Wigan and rightly so. We like to think of ourselves as one of the better teams in the league and you do have that pressure when you put on the badge.

“It’s been very frustrating and disappointing at times. We’ve not had our starting left edge play more than three games together, so it’s been hard to build combinations.

“I wish I could score five tries every week but realistically it’s not going to happen – that’s sport. But we got the fourth spot secured, and we know what it’s like to play in these big games and get them won.

“We’ve got quite a healthy squad at the minute and anything can happen – I don’t think anybody should be writing us off just yet. In the last few performances we nilled Castleford and Hull on their grounds and beat Catalans.

“Our attack hasn’t been brilliant but it doesn’t come down to attack in the bigger games, it’s all about defence. You don’t see those brilliant tries, it’s often something from an effort-based thing, and that’s something we’ve got in abundance in our team.”

Gildart has his own reasons to want to finish on a high – he leaves his hometown club for a new challenge with Australian club Wests Tigers at the end of the campaign. He added: “From a personal point of view it’s been a frustrating year. I’ve had a couple of niggles that have held me back – I’ve not really had muscle injuries before so it’s pretty new to me

“I wish I could have played every game, especially with it being my last year, but these things happens in sport and you have to deal with it. I’m back fit now and it’s the good time of the year, the crunch time. It would mean the world to me to leave as a three-time Grand Final winner with Wigan.”

Gildart was speaking as part of “Pride in the Community”, an initiative launched by Ronseal, the UK & Ireland’s premier woodcare brand, to give back to grassroots rugby league communities.

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