Gildart: Hopefully we've got our mojo back
Oliver Gildart hopes Wigan's left-edge has rediscovered its 'mojo' at just the right time.
The centre has flourished in between Joe Burgess and Liam Farrell, with George Williams pulling the strings alongside them.
Their combinations were particularly sharp in the 42-6 win against Salford last Friday night, reaping four tries and frequently looking a threat.
And Gildart hopes it signals a return to the form they showed at the start of the year, before injuries disrupted the partnerships.
“We started the year on fire, but we had injuries and lost our mojo a bit,” said Gildart. “But we’ve got it back now and hopefully we’ll be firing at Wembley.”
Gildart and Burgess scored a staggering 11 tries between them in their first three games – with team-mates Farrell and Williams playing big roles in helping them into good attacking positions.
Stand-off Williams and Burgess have been team-mates since they were 14, and Gildart has played alongside them since his Wigan academy days – experience which has helped their understanding.
“With George, I’d like to think I can read what he’s going to do,” he said.
“I know when he’s going to run or kick. We’ll talk about plays during the game, but he’s at his most dangerous when he does his own thing and I just try and support him when he does.”
Gildart was at Wembley six years ago and admits it is surreal to get the chance to grace the iconic stadium himself.
“I was there when Joel (Tomkins) scored that great try – I was 15,” he said.
“It’s weird to be travelling to these games as a team-mate. I was screaming their names not long ago and now to play alongside them and class them as mates, it’s mad.”
Gildart has already won a Grand Final and a World Club Challenge in the last 10 months, and is keen to add a Challenge Cup victory to that impressive haul.
“This is the only one I’ve not got. For such a young age, to have the opportunity to win two and have a chance to win all three, it’s massive for me and my family,” he said.
He has already matched the feat of his dad in winning a World Club crown – Ian also has a Challenge Cup victory under his belt from the 1990 Wembley win against Warrington.
“I think he may get annoyed if I start overtaking him!” smiled the 21-year-old.
“He’s been to Wembley and won there, and he told me it’s the best day of your life, the bus ride home, the party afterwards. It’s a big one for my family, because they sacrificed a lot for me. I don’t think my mum and dad think I appreciate it – I probably don’t tell them enough – but I can remember my dad working a night shift, coming in on a Saturday morning and taking me training.
“He used to coach me as well. They did a lot for me, and now they can sit back and enjoy watching me at Wembley.”
But he is not under-estimating their opponents Hull FC, who marched to the final with wins against Leeds and Castleford.
“I’ve not played against Hull this year, but they’re going well,” added the 21-year-old. “Physically, they’re a big side, their backs are as big as their forwards, so our one-on-one defence has to be spot on.”
Phil Bentham will referee Saturday’s Wembley final.