With the club’s opening match of the 2022 season approaching, Wests Tigers Members and fans will soon receive their first glimpse at the club’s new-look left edge.
Led by New Zealand international Ken Maumalo and English recruit Oliver Gildart, the representative-calibre pairing has the potential to become a dangerous combinations in the league.
Gildart joins Wests Tigers after seven successful years in the Super League where he made four grand finals and won two premierships.
The son of former Wigan back-rower Ian Gildart, Oliver played 129 matches for his father’s club and made four international appearances for England and Great Britain.
Maumalo excited to show what Wests Tigers have been working on
Speaking ahead of his NRL debut, Gildart expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to play in Australia, labelling it as a dream come true.
“Not many people get to come over here, especially from England, so I’ve got my opportunity now and I’m looking forward to taking it," he said.
Despite the initial challenges posed by his Northern English accent, Gildart explained that his connection with Ken Maumalo has flourished throughout the offseason and the pair are hoping to translate that chemistry onto the field.
We have pretty similar interests outside of footy and we’ve spent a lot of time together getting coffees and going out for food, so I’ve got to know him pretty wellKen Maumalo
Echoing Gildart’s sentiments, Maumalo explained that he’s keen to link up with the English centre and discover what the pair are capable of producing together this season.
“I’m really happy and excited to be working outside of him, even if I’m still trying to get used to his accent," Maumalo joked.
“He’s going to bring a lot of versatility on the edge with his agility and power”
Maumalo scored 17 tries in 23 appearances for the Warriors in 2019 before transferring to Wests Tigers midway through the 2021 season.
After undergoing his first pre-season at Concord, he’s primed for a return to the top of the try scoring charts.
Making the NRL is a dream come true for Gildart
Voted into the club’s leadership group, Maumalo believes that he is a natural leader who can assist in getting the club back into the top eight.
With the support of Gildart on his inside, Maumalo is excited by the challenge of facing off against the Melbourne Storm, who haven’t lost a Round 1 fixture since 2002.
“I’ve always wanted to leave a good impact on people’s lives and it doesn’t matter if that’s on the field or off the field,” he said.
“They’re a tough opposition but we’ve got a young, hungry team that’s ready to compete so we’re really looking forward to it."
Match: Wests Tigers v Storm
Round 1 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney