Writing in his latest blog, Oliver Gildart gives his reaction to the news that Adrian Lam and Shaun Edwards will be returning to the Club, his thoughts on Dom Manfredi’s comeback from injury and a preview on the Catalans game this Saturday.
Hello everyone, hope you’re all good!
The news was revealed last week that Batty (John Bateman) will be leaving the club at the end of the season to take up a contract in the NRL. It’s the same as Sutty (Ryan Sutton) as they are both my best friends. I’m obviously gutted that I won’t get a chance to play with them for the next few seasons anyway. Batty’s an unbelievable player and I’m sure he’s going to go out there and kill it. In some sense I’m made up for him but I’m obviously gutted as well. He is contracted to come to Wigan at the end of his time in the NRL which is good news for the fans and the Club. He’s a world class player and I think every Wigan fan loves him.
It was also announced last week that former legends of the Club, Adrian Lam and Shaun Edwards will both be returning as Head Coach from 2019 and 2020 respectively. It’s exciting times! We’ve still got this year to concentrate on so as players we’ve got our jobs to do for this season and for Waney (Shaun Wane) and the fans. Everyone wants to get some silverware for Waney as he’s obviously leaving at the end of the year. My dad played with Shaun Edwards and I had a chat with him about it and he said he will be an amazing coach so I’m looking forward to working with him and Adrian Lam next year too and hopefully I can improve my game. It’s a fresh start and everyone is on the same playing field as you’ve got to impress. Obviously, everyone has built up their own credits with Waney and he knows everyone individually but it will be up to the new coaches on what they want to do so it’s going to be a real hard pre-season as everyone will want to leave their mark.
Last Friday, we beat Castleford 24-22 at the DW in the first round of the Super8s. I thought the first half was very good as it was probably the best 40 minutes we’ve had all year – we were very dominant. We then lost Sam (Tomkins) in the second half and we had a bit of a dip again which has been the story of our year. We’ve had a couple of moments where we’ve switched off and it ended up being a close game when really it could have been put to bed. That was a must win game though and it was one of the biggest of the Super8s for us, as Cas and Warrington are chasing us for the second spot so we were made up to get the win.
I was made up for Ollie P (Partington) as he made his debut for the Club in the game against Cas. I’ve been really looking forward to watching him play in the first team. He’s a great player and he definitely throws himself in so I’m sure he’ll be a fan favourite over the next few years and I’m looking forward to hopefully playing with him. Benny (Flower) made his 150th appearance for the Club too and it’s a great effort from him! Especially, playing in the middle it’s a tough old game in the position where he plays. He’s a massive player for us and it was great to see him get 150 and it’s a brilliant achievement!
Dom (Manfredi) made his return from injury in a Wigan shirt on Saturday as he played for the Reserves against Halifax. I was buzzing for him. He’s been through a lot of these last two years and he’s not moaned or anything. He probably has had times where he has been down but he’s never been like that around the lads. He’s been outstanding and that’s a credit to him and with him being one of my best mates, I’m just made up to see him back out there. Hopefully, he will get a run of games now and we’ll see him back to his best. He scored two tries too and they will give him a lot of confidence and hopefully we’ll see him in a first team shirt soon. Before his injury I thought he was the best winger in the league so if he can get back to that form it’s only going to benefit us.
We face Catalans Dragons on Saturday in the second round of the Super8s. It’s always a tough test to go to France and come back with a result. I think we’re going to spend a few days over there so it gives the boys a bit more recovery and time to chill out but it’s going to be tough old game. We’ve played them twice this year and they’ve been hard games but I’m confident the boys will do it and I’m looking forward to it.
We then go to St Helens two weeks on Friday. It’s going to be a massive game as it always is in the derby and personally I’m hoping to be back maybe for that game so I’m looking forward to it! I’ve got the operation for my thumb on Wednesday and I’m doing everything I can to get on that pitch. They beat us at the DW not so long ago so hopefully we can go there and get one over on them.
Thanks for your continued support! See you soon.