Gildart signs new contract

Oliver Gildart has scored nine tries in Super League this term
Oliver Gildart has scored nine tries in Super League this term

Oliver Gildart has ended speculation over his future by signing a new three-year deal with Wigan.

The centre - Super League’s current Young Player of the Year - was out of contract at the end of this season.

He had attracted interest from clubs on both sides of the world but has pledged his future to his hometown club.

And “thrilled” executive director Kris Radlinski said: “This has been a very delicate negotiation as Oliver was not short of offers. If truth be known, it has probably taken a little more time that we would have anticipated but I am confident that this is the right decision for club and player.

“We have beaten off strong competition from a number of leading clubs in both the Super League and in the NRL to keep Oliver at Wigan and I’m thrilled that he has agreed this new contract.

“I know how much this club means to him and we are delighted that we could come to this agreement. Oliver’s best years are ahead of his and I look forward to seeing his career develop.”

A classy left centre, Gildart has touched down nine times in Super League this term to put him joint-fourth on the competition’s try-scoring charts.

He said: “Wigan is the club I’ve been at for a while now and I’m really happy to have signed at the club again for the next three years.

“I love playing with the team we have here and to have played in so many big games so early on in my career has been great.

“I think I’ve got lots of improvement left in me and want to play in more finals and win more silverware and winner’s rings over the next few years.”

Gildart is still 21 but has already played in two Grand Finals, a Challenge Cup Final and a World Club Challenge. He has never shied away from the fact he would like to have a crack at the NRL at some stage in his career.

“One of the best centres in the competition on his day, he is a credit to the Wigan academy system and a fine example of both the player and man that we look to develop here,” added Radlinski.

“I can still remember the confident 14-year-old kid coming into the Club. We all felt that he had an exciting future and we have been proved right. Oliver now needs to set his targets high and realise his potential. The international stage is where he should be showcasing his talent and that can’t be too far away.”

Wigan have been working through their plans for 2019 and beyond.

Gildart follows Willie Isa in agreeing a new deal, while Tom Davies and Liam Marshall - who weren’t out of contract - agreed upgraded deals.

Sam Tomkins will be leaving to join Catalans, while it is widely-expected former Man of Steel Zak Hardaker will join once he has completed his doping ban in November.

Prop Ryan Sutton is set for a move to the NRL - Canberra were reportedly shaping as favourites for his signature - while Sean O’Loughlin and Thomas Leuluai have yet to decide whether to play on or retire to take up coaching roles with the club.

Injured winger Dom Manfredi and fringe centre Liam Forsyth are also out of contract, while prop Joe Bretherton - who has joined Toulouse on loan, along with James Worthington - is expected to depart, along with Jack Higginson.

Elsewhere, England international John Bateman has been in talks about a new deal. He is under contract but has a clause allowing him to depart for the NRL at the end of this year if a pre-determined, undisclosed, fee is paid.