Hull KR boss all but confirms Leigh Leopards’ move for Oliver Gildart with Challenge Cup twist

HULL KR head coach Willie Peters has all but confirmed that 2024 signing Oliver Gildart will join Leigh Leopards for the remainder of the season.

The Robins confirmed at the beginning of June that England international Gildart would join from next season after two years in the NRL.

However, he is now to make a move from the Dolphins to Hull KR’s Challenge Cup final opponents, Leigh, ahead of next week’s transfer deadline.

The deal, first reported by Rugby League Live and said to be a permanent rather than loan deal, will see Gildart be a replacement for fellow centre Ricky Leutele, who has suffered a spinal injury.

However, Gildart will still join Hull KR on a three-year deal from next season, and will not be eligible to play against his future employers at Wembley as players must be registered a week before the semi-finals in order to feature in the Challenge Cup final.

“He can’t play at Wembley, or it’s my understanding he can’t play,” said Peters after Hull KR’s 34-16 Super League win over Castleford Tigers on Friday night.

ALSO READ: Leigh Leopards unveil bold new kit to wear in Challenge Cup final

“If anything changed, I’d be surprised. I was surprised (about the move), but we needed to make sure he wasn’t going to be playing against us for Wembley.

“I’d like to think the other team stick to that, but I need to speak to Paul (Lakin, Hull KR’s CEO) to see if it’s in writing.”

“It’s good for Oliver that he’s playing again, but if he’s going to Leigh it’s another club and he isn’t our focus until the end of the season.

“Personally, I’m glad he’s playing, but it’s for another club this year.”

Gildart has endured two difficult years in Australia. After being dropped by Wests Tigers he finished his first year on loan at Sydney Roosters, then he moved to new franchise the Dolphins for this season but has not played a single game under his former England and Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett.

But the two-time Grand Final winner developed into one of Super League’s best centres in his time with Wigan Warriors, where he came through the Academy to make 143 first-team appearances.