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Exclusive: Willie Peters confirms Hull KR never ‘had any opportunity to sign’ Oliver Gildart

Leigh Leopards have confirmed the signing of Oliver Gildart till the end of the 2023 season with the former Wigan Warriors centre providing the club with cover for the injured Ricky Leutele.

Gildart has already signed to join Hull KR, Leigh’s Challenge Cup Final opponents, for the 2024 season and beyond, and the potential move to Leigh was rumoured on Friday just before Hull KR faced Castleford Tigers leading to plenty of confusion.

It was clarified that Gildart would be unable to play against Rovers should the deal go through but it still left somewhat of a sour taste in the mouth of Robins’ fans, and it’s now been confirmed by head coach Willie Peters that KR never had the chance to sign him.

Speaking to Serious About Rugby League, Peters said: “I was only aware of it on game day morning. It was the first I heard of it and that was it. So pretty much we hadn’t had any opportunity to sign Oli.

“I’m happy that he’s playing. I want him to play. Obviously, it’s not with us this year, but he’ll be certainly with us next year.”

Peters had explained earlier in the season that any chance of bringing Gildart to Super League early was unlikely with the ex-Wigan man keen to make good on his NRL career, however he continued to be unable to crack the Dolphins starting squad.

That is perhaps why Gildart has taken the opportunity with Leigh under Adrian Lam, for whom Gildart played at the DW Stadium, and given Ricky Leutele’s season-ending injury he provides excellent cover.

The fact that Rovers weren’t contacted makes for interesting scenes next year when he joins the KR training squad, especially since Peters confirmed he’s had no contact with the centre.

“No I haven’t, as I say he’s not our player for this year.”

Rovers do meet Leigh in the league later this month and when asked if Gildart will play in that game, Peters responded in kind.

“If he’s a Leigh player, I can’t see why not. There is no agreement from us in what he does this season… clearly,” Peters joked. “He’s not contracted to us until next season so Oliver is free to do what he wants until then.

“I’ll say it again, we didn’t have any opportunity to sign him but that’s not a concern of ours now. We are focused on what we can do, we are focused on our games and that’s always our mentality.”

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