Wigan Warriors ace Oliver Gildart: It gets heated... because nobody wants to let their mates down
As the stakes are raised and the tension is ratcheted up, Gildart says fans shouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors players are into each other on the pitch – because that’s how they are in training!
And he says fiery exchanges underline just how determined they all are to get back to Old Trafford and defend the title they won last season.
Wigan host Salford tonight knowing victory would move then one game away from a sixth Grand Final in seven years.
“It gets personal at times, I was spraying a few in the Cas’ game (last Friday),” said the England centre.
“In these games, nobody wants to drop a ball or give away stupid penalties – but it does annoy you when it happens.
“You don’t want to be that person to let your mates down in big games like this. We’re hard on each other in training, not just in games. But once the game or the session is over, everyone is fine.
“Batty (John Bateman) was the worst I’ve seen – he’d call you every name under the sun! But then after the game, he’d come over, give you a hug and say, ‘Sorry, it’s just a game’ and it’s all sweet.
“This is our job, it’s what we live for, there’s no point working so hard to get to these big games and then messing up with a dropped ball or a stupid penalty.
“There’s pressure in every game you play but at the business end, especially, you don’t want to be that person who lets your mates down.”
Gildart has played in every game for Wigan this season – from the promising opening which soon turned stormy, and the subsequent transformation which has seen them claim 12 wins from their last 13 matches.
“Even when it wasn’t going our way, I could see it was going to click,” said the 23-year-old. “I said at the time, when we were down near the bottom, that I’d felt worse in previous years and I stand by that – I just had a feeling we’d come good.
“Don’t get me wrong, you want the dream start and it’s great winning the league leaders, but it doesn’t really matter as long as you get into the play-offs and hit some good form.
“I felt pretty sorry for Lammy at the start of the year, he didn’t get a fair chance from some, but I could see what he was doing.”