Gildart’s ‘dig’ for huge year ahead

Oliver Gildart finished the season with a Grand Final appearance
Oliver Gildart finished the season with a Grand Final appearance

OLIVER Gildart has no fears of second-season syndrome as he begins preparations for a “massive” 2016.

The teenage centre was one of the success stories of last season.

After breaking into the side during the Super 8s, he held onto his place as Wigan stormed to a Grand Final appearance.

Gildart says the late-season exposure has made him even more determined to make an impression on coach Shaun Wane during pre-season, which officially began this week.

And with fit-again centre Dan Sarginson the likeliest option to replace injured Sam Tomkins at full-back for the early stages, Gildart is well aware there is an opening in the side.

He said: “It’s going to be a massive year. Having had the taste with a few games last season, I want to keep doing it – I don’t want to drop below that standard any more. I want to keep my place now.

“I’m going to have a real dig in pre-season and hopefully impress Shaun and get the start.”

Gildart – the only academy-product to debut for Warriors last term – has returned to pre-season more settled within the first-team environment.

“A year ago I came in and, being a young lad, you keep your head down,” he said. “Now I know the lads and I’ve come out of my shell a bit.”

And he hopes to add some muscle to his frame during the winter training.

“I’m going to try and put a couple kilos on,” he added. “But I don’t want to lose my speed because that’s a main part of my game.”