Oliver Gildart is ready to continue his wing education tonight – against Super League’s ‘tank on the flank’.
The 19-year-old was drafted into the team last Saturday after Josh Charnley was ruled out with a facial injury.
And having made his first start as a winger against Brisbane Broncos, he admits it won’t get any easier with a duel against Salford’s Justin Carney this evening. The blockbusting Aussie has become a firm crowd-pleaser during his time at Castleford and now at the Red Devils.
And Gildart said: “You have to play against the best to test yourself.
“The Brisbane game was a learning curve for me, and I’m looking forward to this challenge too.
“Justin is really strong, it’s about being at my best and closing him down as quickly as I can.”
Gildart, usually a centre, trained on the wing during the off-season to make himself more versatile.
He only got the nod to face the Broncos at the “last minute”, and said: “I always dreamed of playing against an NRL club so it was a bit surreal.
“It was a great opportunity to test myself, it was good to play against them.
“I’ve never really played on the wing, other than 10 minutes here and there.
“But I trained there in pre-season so I understand the position.
“There were a couple of errors in me, which I need to practice.”
Gildart made his Super League debut in Salford’s colours during a loan stint a year ago. He went on to crack into Wigan’s side during the Super-8s and held onto his spot during the charge to the Grand Final.
“I really enjoyed it at Salford, it got me in good stead to come back to Wigan and settled some nerves, so it was definitely beneficial,” the academy-product said.
Tonight’s game is not on Sky Sports. It was brought forward 24 hours to give the DW Stadium pitch more time to recover before Latics’ match on Saturday.
Prop Lee Mossop is set to make his first appearance of the year, kick-off 8pm.