Gildart: It's all about our Grand Final ambition now
Oliver Gildart says he will learn from the lessons of his first Challenge Cup semi-final as Warriors draw-up their Super 8s blueprint.
The teenager, who appeared in last season’s Grand Final after bursting onto the scene just under a year ago, admits it’s hugely disappointing not to add a Wembley appearance to his already impressive list of achievements.
But with two trophies still left to aim for – the Super League trophy and League Leaders’ Shield – Gildart insists that will be Wigan’s focus from now until October.
“I’m disappointed not to do it this year,” he said when asked about missing out on a trip to Wembley.
“But we’ve still got a double we can win so it’s just about that now and working hard until the end of the year.”
Gildart was hoping to emulate his dad, Ian, by reaching the Challenge Cup Final with Wigan.
Ian lifted the trophy in 1990, during Wigan’s dominance of the competition, in a career which saw him pick-up five league championship medals and two World Club Challenges.
But Oliver knows time is on his side, and hopes the experience he has already gained with the Warriors first team will help him add to the family medal collection.
“It was a tough game to play in, but a good one but I’ll learn from this and hopefully play in a few more,” he said after the semi-final.
“I’d love to get there now and do it at the age I am now but I’d like to get there in a few years.”
But Gildart, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Saturday, will be putting thoughts of finals to the back of his mind as Wigan negotiate the Super 8s phase of the season in search of a top-four play-off spot, and ideally, a fourth Grand Final appearance in a row.
And coach Shaun Wane, who was missing seven first-teamers for last Friday’s defeat, should see his selection woes ease slightly this week.
Josh Charnley and Frank-Paul Nuuausala are welcomed back from bans while Liam Farrell pushes his way into contention as he nears recovery from a rib injury.
And Gildart is particularly looking forward to Wigan’s trip to Hull on September 9, so Warriors can earn a little bit of revenge for their cup exit.
“It’s always a good game and we owe them one now so it will be good,” he said.
Wigan’s Super League clash against Widnes next month has been brought forward 24 hours to Thursday, September 1 for Sky coverage.