Oliver Gildart could make 'big impact' in NRL, reckons Jackson Hastings

Jackson Hastings believes Oliver Gildart could make a "really big impact" if he joins him at Wests Tigers next year.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 8:01 am
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 8:04 am
Oliver Gildart's Wigan deal runs out this year

Gildart is understood to have agreed a move to the NRL outfit for 2022.

Hastings - who has signed for Wests for next season - says Gildart hasn't sought his advice and didn't know what his future may hold.

But he is confident he has the speed and skill-set to make his mark in Australia if he decides to make the switch.

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In recent years, English players who have enjoyed success in the NRL have mainly been forwards.

But Hastings - a self-confessed "footy nerd" - said: "The game has changed completely especially in the NRL with the 'six-again', the speed part of the game is really starting to make an appearance in the NRL and if he did decide to go one day, that aspect of his game would really stand out.

"Obviously he'd have to have the people inside of him to free him up and things like that, but playing for England, he definitely doesn't lack the toughness or the physicality that some people have sort of suggested.

"I've played with him for long enough to back him to make a really big impact and break the mould."

An academy graduate, Gildart burst onto the scene in 2015 and won Grand Finals with his hometown club in '16 and '18, sandwiching a World Club Challenge triumph.

His Wigan deal expires at the end of this season and the 24-year-old has admitted in the past he would like to test himself in the NRL at some stage of his career, having seen close pals Ryan Sutton, Joe Burgess and George Williams all leave Wigan to play in Australia.

"Apart from Gary Connolly I can't remember another centre going over and really making it," said coach Adrian Lam.

"Gilly will need to keep working hard and keep getting better. He's certainly got aspects of his game where he's world class, with the ball in hand - but I'm sure he'd admit too that he needs to keep working his all-round game."

Gildart has yet to play this year due to a groin injury. He is unlikely to face Leigh on Monday and Lam says it's more likely that the England centre - as well as Thomas Leuluai (sternum) - will be fit and available for selection for the trip to Salford on May 22. "If not, they're pretty much guaranteed for the week later," said Lam.

He has yet to pick his team for Monday's trip to Leigh but did say winger Dom Manfredi - who made his return from injury from the bench last week - will start on the right wing.

"There may be some minor changes but we'll stick with the majority of the squad," he added. "Dom will come into start and we'll adjust it from there."