The absence of the former Great Britain international will be a blow to Daniel Anderson’s men, especially as Brisbane scrum-half Darren Lockyer identified him as one of the Saints’ most dangerous players.
James Roby could take Cunningham’s place in the starting line-up, while Jon Wilkin is returning from a two-week suspension handed down after a late challenge on Huddersfield’s Chris Thorman in the opening round of Super League.
Saints will definitely have to do without the services of prop Maurie Fa’asavalu, while Jason Hooper is struggling with his shoulder, and injury checks will have to be made on Jason Cayless and captain Paul Sculthorpe.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has named 20-year-old winger Steven Michaels in the starting line up, after the youngster scored a brace of tries in both of the Broncos’ warm-up games against Central Comets and Celtic Crusaders.
Meanwhile, Lockyer has spoken of the Broncos’ determination to return down under in possession of the World Club Challenge, especially following their defeat to the Saints in the 2001 match.
"We're up for it, without a doubt," said Lockyer. “We've been here before in 2001 and didn't get a win. So the club – from coach Wayne Bennett through to the players – have prepared really well.
"This is a trophy we definitely want to add to what we won last year. They've got a pretty good outfit to say the least and they've been pretty dominant for a while so it's going to be tough."