“Grateful and blessed” – Former St Helens star Kevin Naiqama reflects on NRL return and try

Yesterday, three-time Super League Champion Kevin Naiqama made his return to the NRL after a three year stint with St Helens in Super League.

In his three years with the Saints he delivered the Super League title in each season as well as the League Leaders’ Shield in 2019 and the Challenge Cup in 2021 leaving him with five trophies in three seasons in Super League.

A big game player, he scored a hat-trick in Saints’ semi-final win over Catalans in 2020 before turning out a gutsy display in the Grand Final against Wigan that season. Then in the 2021 Grand Final he picked up the Harry Sunderland Award as Man of the Match as he scored twice in the Saints’ 12-10 win over Catalans to secure a third consecutive title.

That was his last game as a Saint and for a time it was thought it may be his last all together until the Sydney Roosters signed him ahead of the 2022 season. A move to the wing soon followed having starred as a centre mostly for the Saints. However, this positional switch did not get him into the Roosters’ starting 17 in the first few games of the season but today Naiqama made his long awaited NRL return in Sydney’s 28-4 win over North Queensland Cowboys.

He even scored finishing off a sweeping move started by Victor Radley which led to Joseph Manu finding some space at right centre as Naiqama often did for St Helens. Manu then produced a silky offload for Naiqama to score and crown his comeback with a try and he has now reflected on the occasion taking to Instagram to thank those who have helped him on his journey.

He said: “Grateful and Blessed. Thank My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for making my club debut for the roosters last night.

“It was a vibe last night and to share this special moment with my family was really special. I wish my wife Lily Naiqama and daughter Māia could be here but due to my daughter being sick they couldn’t make it.

“I want to acknowledge my wife for holding down the house while I’m away and letting me continue to chase my dreams.

“Big thanks to the Sydney Roosters for flying my mum and brother up for the game.”

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