Oliver Gildart ready for battle with Wigan after spending weeks in the Warzone
OLIVER Gildart is ready for battle after spending weeks in the Warzone.
One thing he will definitely not be doing, though, is watching Wigan’s Grand Final heartbreak again.
The Warriors star has a triple aim – winning the Super League title at Old Trafford, winning the Challenge Cup at Wembley and making England’s World Cup squad.
But as the off-season dragged on and on, Gildart spent his time sharpening his skills on video game Call of Duty: Warzone with pal and now former team-mate Joe Burgess.
He said: “I’ve just been playing Warzone with Budgie for six or seven weeks!
“I’m a proper gaming nerd, so that’s literally all I do. I’ll definitely say I’m better but he’ll definitely say he’s better too.
“The off season was good for my body as it was good to have a bit of a rest but it’s been boring as I couldn’t really leave the house.
“It was pretty tough mentally. Everybody usually loves the time off as they have some time in the sun and has a break.
“But we’ve been stuck in – that’s the world we live in and people are doing it tougher than is but it’s good to get back in and get back to work. I was definitely ready to get back into a routine.
“And it really does feel good to be throwing a ball around again.”
Wigan have strengthened for 2021, with John Bateman coming back after a stellar NRL stint and Jai Field coming in.
Stars Bevan French and Jackson Hastings are due back from Australia next week while Sean O’Loughlin is still making his presence felt, even though he retired in November.
And Gildart has a challenge waiting for speedster French as he believes the changes make Adrian Lam’s squad stronger.
He added: “Lockers is still around as he’s coaching now so we don’t really miss him. He looks a natural at it.
“And he’s bossing everyone about. We’ve got a lot to learn from Lockers and anything he says, everyone listens.
“Having John back is massive for us, just having his name on the teamsheet will put the opposition off, even though he now has an Aussie accent!
“He’s terrible with the Australian language and Jai is a fresh face – I’d like to see him and Bevan go at it in a race as they’re ridiculously fast.”
By the time Super League starts on March 25, four months will have passed since Wigan’s heartbreaking last gasp Grand Final loss to St Helens.
But time has not been a healer for centre Gildart, 24, who admitted: “The disappointment of the final really took it out of me, I’ve still not watched it back and personally I won’t unless we review it.
“I just can’t do it. I was really upset at how the game ended and it really hurt for a few weeks. It may pop up if we get to big games as a reminder of how we felt.”
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