Activating its title sponsorship with the Super League, Betfred quizzed Keiron Cunningham on his pathway into rugby league.

As part of a new series titled ‘Rugby League GOATS’, Betfred sat down with former St Helens hooker Cunningham to discuss where it all began for the Merseyside-born rugby league icon.

Cunningham discussed his family tree and how the sport ran in the family, with his siblings playing professionally and even representing Great Britain.

“I played for St Helens Crusaders as a kid up to about 10 and I was a decent player but I lost my dad when I was 10 so I didn’t have that father figure in my life and hit sort of a rebellious streak for a few years, and went off the rails as a junior,” he began.

Cunningham explained how Saints were ‘always in the background’ of his mind, whilst his heart was always at the club.

He said: “All those people that I watched on the terraces, that I idolised and made me want to play the game of rugby league, I was lucky and fortunate enough to rub shoulders with them, associate with them and call them friends.

“One of the best people I’ve ever dealt with and coached with and that I respect highly is Eric Hughes. Eric was at the club and he really gave me a shot. He could see the potential in me and he gave me my opportunity.

“In ‘96 we just hit the ground running and for me that was the start of that young squad and a dash of really good senior players – that was the start of something special for this club.”

Betfred activates Super League sponsorship in ‘GOATS’ series