During the off season, I will write a piece about some of the players who I think will not only make a huge impact on the 2017 Super League but also internationally and the first man on the list is Wigan Warriors’ 21 year old centre Oliver Gildart.
Initially called up by Italy for this winter’s World Cup, he withdrew himself in order to dedicate himself to a full pre season with his boyhood team in order to build on a sterling 2017 campaign which saw him win the young player of the year award at the Man of Steel awards. Such was the quality of his season, he could arguably count himself unlucky to not be featured in the official team of the season but, after a three month absence after injuring a vertebrae in a tackle, perhaps he didn’t feature often enough to earn himself a spot. However, his record of 15 tries in 20 appearances and half as many assists saw him establish himself as one of the most dependable sources of points in a Warriors team which, despite underachieving in 2017, is still full of talented ball players.
His experience this year will stand him in very good stead for 2018 and, with something of a lack of world class ability at centre, a season or two more of great form may see him get his hands on an England national jersey. His finishing this season has been superb and his ability to draw the tackle has created space for his teammates to run in the tries he supplies and next season should be huge for Gildart.