England international centre Oliver Gildart has arrived at Wests Tigers and has targeted a starting spot in Michael Maguire’s team.
Gildart, 25, has made the move Down Under from Wigan after scoring 62 tries in 132 Super League appearances.
From Wigan to Wests Tigers ✈
Welcome, Oliver Gildart! 🐯 pic.twitter.com/j6gvbgx41y
— Wests Tigers (@WestsTigers) November 8, 2021
He told the Wests Tigers official website: “It’s crazy to be here. The boys and all of the staff have been really welcoming since I’ve arrived. I really can’t wait to get going.
“It’s always been my dream to play in the NRL. I was handed the opportunity to come and represent this great club — I jumped at the opportunity.
“The goal is to get a starting spot and then perform as best as I can — do my job for the team.
“The top 8 is something Wests Tigers haven’t made for a few years, but that would be awesome to achieve.”
Gildart follows in the footsteps of fellow Englishman Gareth Ellis, who spent four seasons with Wests from 2009-2013.
Ellis was Wests’ player of the year for three consecutive years, and coach Tim Sheens called him his “dollar-for-dollar” best buy.
He played 75 games in the NRL before returning to Super League with Hull.
Gildart added: “I’ve watched this club for a long time now. Hopefully I can also make my own history here. I’ve played against Gareth in the Super League.
“My old man and his old man are good friends. I know the kind of player he is from playing against him.
“I’ve seen what he’s done here, winning multiple player of the year awards, he’s loved over here.
“It’s great to see English guys in the NRL.”
Flying the flag Down Under
There has been increasing English interest in the NRL over recent years, a stark contrast to Ellis’ time when he was virtually the sole flag flyer.
Josh Hodgson, Elliot Whitehead and Ryan Sutton are established members of the Canberra squad.
Tom Burgess is still at Souths, while twin brother George is back in the NRL with St George-Illawarra Dragons.
Youngsters Dom Young and Bailey Hodgson are at Newcastle Knights, with Herbie Farnworth now in his fourth year at Brisbane Broncos.
Former St Helens prop Luke Thompson is at Canterbury Bulldogs, and Great Britain international Jackson Hastings is joining Gildart at Wests.