Saints coach Cunningham sees star talent in Roosters' Nikorima


St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham believes Sydney Roosters have a superstar in the making in Jayden Nikorima, but feels the 38-12 scoreline in Friday's World Club Series contest was unjust.

Teenager Nikorima was making his debut for the Roosters at Langtree Park and played a starring role as the NRL side turned on the style in a seven-try showing.

Cunningham recognises the talent in the Roosters ranks, but felt his team responded well to last week's 44-10 battering at the hands of Salford Red Devils in Super League despite evidence of more defensive frailties.

"I thought we started really well, I was happy with the response from last week," he said. 

"My middles were outstanding, but their half-backs were the difference. I thought some of the tries came against the run of play, but it's why they are where they are. They are capable of special things. 

"We came up a bit short. But the middles stood up well.

"They looked really good, the kid in the centre [Nikorima] if that's his debut he'll be a superstar. We knew that. The scoreline didn't justify how we played. But they're a good side."

There was a moment of contention surrounding the Roosters' first try from Kane Evans, which came after Saints thought they had a free play deep in opposition half.

However, International Rules were in force and Cunningham insists his side had been briefed.

"It was a tough call for the try on the freeplay, but you take the rough with the smooth," he added.

"Yeah, course we [mentioned about International Rules]. We understand the ruling, but it has no bearing on what players do in the heat of the moment does it?

"It didn't change the way the game went."