Oliver Gildart, The NRL Dolphins, NRL preseason 2023, Wayne Bennett

Entering his second season in the NRL, Dolphins recruit Oliver Gildart is out to impress coach Wayne Bennett who has a puzzle on his hands when it comes to selecting his starting backs with Round 1 fast approaching.

Sharing how his training was going, Gildart told the media prior to the Christmas break that he was enjoying the new environment since starting with the Dolphins and getting to know his teammates during their pre-season preparations.

“Obviously, it’s never fun part of the year, but you know you’ve got to do the hard work,” Gildart said.

“But it’s been pretty cool coming into a new club, a different environment… you don’t know anybody when you come in; you might know a few boys from different clubs, but I was pretty nervous coming into training.

“But you know, it’s probably one of the best teams I’ve seen, as in gelling all as one straight away anyway.

“The boys have just really ripped in and you can see that connections are forming on and off the field, so it’s been great to be a part of.

“There’s history to be made here, and that’s something we’ve all spoken about as a group; it’s a fresh start for everyone and a chance to make some good history.”

Making the trek halfway across the world last season from the Wigan Warriors – where he won two Super League titles and the World Club Challenge – Gildart spent the majority of last season with Wests Tigers where he played eight games before heading to the Roosters.

Oliver Gildart plays for Wigan against the Brisbane Broncos in the World Club Challenge.
©NRL Images

Like a number of other players who have taken the plunge to test themselves with the fledgling club, the Manchester-born center had a number of reasons to make the move to the Dolphins.

“Obviously, Wayne was a massive one, I got the chance to work with him for England and Great Britain and just really loved how he went about his coaching; and away from the footy field, just how he is as a person and how he treats you,” Gildart said.

“We don’t know how long he’ll be coaching for, so to get the chance to say that I worked with Wayne again is something that I really wanted to do.

“He was also great with my family back home … they speak very highly of him and they really wanted me to go and get to work with him again.”

While the Dolphins still have four places left to fill their top 30 roster, the squad is full of second-row and center talent, but Gildart is backing himself to rise to the challenge to earn a starting spot and add to his NRL tally following a tough season last year.

“My goal is to play as many NRL games as I can and just be the best player I can be,” Gildart said.

Season shapers: Dolphins

“I feel like Wayne knows me probably a lot more than most NRL coaches and just understands me as a person, I think … so (my goal is to), just go out and give my all for this club. And like I said, hopefully create some really positive history on the back of it.

“There’s nothing more that I can do than just put my best foot forward and just try and impress in training… (but) I’ll do anything for the team.

“I’m a team player at the end of the day, and whatever Wayne picks for the starting 13, you’ve got to just back him and keep turning up for the team.”

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