Exclusive: Oliver Gildart ‘really excited’ by Leigh move – ‘I’ve not been happy for two years’

Aaron Bower
Oliver Gildart Leigh Leopards

Oliver Gildart in action for Leigh Leopards

Oliver Gildart will travel to Wembley this week and be part of Leigh Leopards’ preparation to beat the club he will play for in 2024 – with the centre admitting the chance to return to Super League early and end two years of unhappiness was too good to resist.

Gildart finds himself in the centre of an unusual situation this week. His current club, whom he made his debut for on Sunday during Leigh’s 13-6 win at Leeds, will take on Hull Kingston Rovers, the team he has agreed to join on a long-term deal in 2024.

He cannot play at Wembley having signed beyond the registration deadline for the Challenge Cup, but will be with the squad this week in the capital.

“I’ll travel with the squad,” he told Love Rugby League.

“I won’t be in the actual squad on the day but I’ll go and enjoy it.

“Wembley doesn’t come around often, and I’m gutted I can’t play, but hopefully I can get back there with Hull KR next year.”

England ace Oliver Gildart ready to get back to his best after ‘unhappy two years’

Gildart was set to see out the remainder of 2023 at the Dolphins before the chance to join Leigh days before the transfer deadline materialised, following a season-ending injury to Ricky Leutele.

He admitted it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down after revealing just how frustrated he had become with his time in Australia.

He admitted: “I’ve not been happy for two years, I stuck it out and gave it my best shot but I’m home around family and friends, and I’m happy for the first time in a long time.

“There were a lack of opportunities this year for sure; I didn’t get a run all year.

“There were boys who were on train and trial contracts getting picked over me. They were great guys but I went there hoping to play at the end of the day, Wayne picked me for my country and that was the reason to join the Dolphins. It didn’t work out, yeah, but that’s behind me now.”


Why his short-term move to Leigh will benefit all parties

And while Gildart can’t play at Wembley this weekend, he admits he is keen to try and guide the Leopards to a maiden Grand Final – and that his early return to Super League will actually benefit Rovers in 2024, too.

“The fact they’re in the mix for a first ever Grand Final is something that hugely excites me about the move,” he said.

“They’ve got Wembley this week which I can’t be involved in of course, but beyond that there’s a chance to push for Old Trafford and that’s something that really excites me. That would be a great end to what has been a pretty frustrating year.

“My manager was in contact with Hull KR about this move, I speak to Willie (Peters) regularly and he was happy for me to come home and get some game-time in that left centre role, where I’ll be next year.

“I’ve been playing there but in the Queensland Cup, and the standard isn’t as good as Super League, so it’ll benefit Rovers too I think.”

READ NEXT: ‘World class’ centre Oliver Gildart backed to do ‘great job’ for Leigh Leopards