Oliver Gildart’s pre-season blog
Wigan centre providing weekly updates as team prepare for 2018 season
- Oli happy to help out on npower Community Blitz
Throughout the pre-season we will catch up with the 2017 Super League young player of the year, Oliver Gildart for his inside insight on the squad’s preparations for 2018.
Pre-Season. Week 3.
Hello everyone, hope you’re all ok.
It was the ‘Community Blitz’ last week, in partnership with npower and it was great to get out around the town and give something back.
We split up into 14 teams, as around 70 players and 50 members of staff got involved in the big shift, which lasted for 15 hours. Along with other teams, my team’s schedule was to help paint St Barnabas church, coach youth teams in Chorley and paint the MS Centre.
We finished at 3:30am but it was a lot of fun and a brilliant idea. It was about bringing people together and it was great to give back to people who I have known since I was a young lad. For example, Peter Elliott, Vice Chairperson at Wigan Riversides (supporters club of Wigan Warriors), was at the MS centre and he’s always looked after me with sponsorship and support so it was nice to give something back to him.
It was also something different. We’ve never done anything like this before and by getting out there into the community it gives you an insight into the real world, as people do this day in and day out. Although it is hard work being a Rugby League player it is a privilege as well so it does make you realise that we are lucky and we should appreciate what we do.
The club prides itself on being different to everyone else and this isn’t something I’ve seen any other club doing, it was fantastic!
For the academy players, it’s a very daunting place when you come up into the first team. You’re playing with some of your idols and for me that was the case, so in effect these type of activities and occasions can help them to relax so that when they are called up, they feel part of the first team and not as nervous around us.
Aside from the community blitz, former England Rugby Union fly-half, Charlie Hodgson, joined the back-room staff as Kicking Consultant recently. This is massive for us as it’s something we struggled with at times last year. George (George Williams) isn’t a natural kicker and ever since Matty Smith and Pat Richards (arguably the best kicker we’ve ever had at this club) left, it’s been a tough role to fill. However, bringing Charlie in is only going to benefit us more and its great for the kickers as well to get that specialist advice.
Obviously, as you are all aware, England lost the Rugby League World Cup final on Saturday to Australia and I have to admit I’m gutted! We have been very good throughout the tournament, to get to a World Cup final takes some doing. The team has been building in the last couple of years, but it’s just a shame we couldn’t go all the way this time around. However, they have made the country proud and its only going to improve the reputation of Rugby League and especially the Super League. Hopefully we can further enhance that reputation when we go over for our games there in February.
That’s all for this week, see you soon!