Oliver Gildart set for emotional farewell in final match at Wigan

The 25-year-old England international is ending his seven-year stint with his hometown club at the end of the season, which will come on Thursday if they fail to beat Leeds in the first Super League elimination play-off.

Gildart, who along with team-mate Jackson Hastings will be joining Wests Tigers in the NRL for 2022, is hoping to match the achievements of Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley and John Bateman, who all won a Grand Final ring in their last matches for the Warriors before moving on.

There is also an opportunity for the Wigan players to send departing coach Adrian Lam out on a high, just as they did with his predecessor Shaun Wane in 2018.

“It’s made me reflect on my time here at Wigan,” Gildart said during a visit to his old amateur club Hindley ARFLC as part of ‘Pride in the Community’ initiative by Ronseal designed to give back to grassroots rugby communities.

“I’ve had some great memories and I’ve got the opportunity to create one more.

“I remember Waney’s last Grand Final and I played with Sam and Josh and Batty in theirs.

“It would be an absolute dream way to go out, especially at Old Trafford, but a lot of hard work goes into that. I really hope we can do that.

“I’m trying to enjoy every moment, being around the boys as much as I can, and hopefully I can get to that Grand Final and get another ring.

“It would mean everything, especially with me leaving. I’ve two from four so I’d like to add another ring to my collection.”

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Wigan will face a trip to either Catalans Dragons or St Helens if they overcome Leeds after finishing fourth at the end of a less than impressive campaign so far.

“It’s not good enough for us at Wigan,” admitted Gildart. “We strive to win everything, we want to be the best in everything.

“But it’s been a very difficult season and it’s not ended up too bad. We have a home quarter-final boxed off and anything can happen. People have won it from fourth before.

“There’s going to be a lot of pressure on us to get there but there’s something special in our team when it comes to this time of the season, we seem to get the results.”

FAREWELL: Adrian Lam hopes to go out on high in final Wigan home game

Leeds, too, know how to peak at the right time and are aiming to win the title from fifth place for the third time as they prepare to welcome back Zane Tetevano from suspension and Mikołaj Oledzki, Alex Mellor and King Vuniyayawa from injury.

“We want to go all the way,” said Rhinos stand-off Rob Lui, who is also leaving Super League at the end of the season. “We’ve got confidence in each other.

“It’s been a rough year for us but we get Zane back and a few other people back. It’s going to be tough but we can’t wait for Thursday. I love playing at Wigan.”

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Wigan are without prop Joe Bullock after he sustained a shoulder injury in the win over Catalans but Lam is able to recall Liam Marshall, Brad Singleton, John Bateman and Morgan Smithies after resting them for that final game of the regular season.

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