Kiwis captain Adam Blair has stuck by comments he, coach David Kidwell and Shaun Johnson have made about fan support in the wake of their Rugby League World Cup departure.
New Zealand lost their quarter-final to Fiji 4-2 which sparked criticism from all corners about Kidwell's tough tenure as coach.
Echoing Kidwell and Johnson when talking on Newstalk ZB's Veitchy on Sport, Blair said the fans lacked faith in the team right from the outset.
"We've done a lot of hard work collectively as a unit and to hear the criticism from the outside in is disappointing because five weeks ago a lot of people wrote us off and this is what they wanted, to see us fail," he said.
"We had high hopes and we had belief we could do something special but we fell short to a great Fijian team on the night."
Fans made their displeasure at the current crop known after a defeat where the Kiwis rarely fired a shot, with only second-rowers Simon Mannering and Joseph Tapine really putting in a good performance.
Blair said fans are too concerned with the results.
"Results are all the fans care about. They forget how tough the game really is," he said.
"We're playing against the elite players in our sport, we're putting our bodies on the line every single day when we turn up as players.
"Sometimes we get put in some tough positions on the field and if you don't play you wouldn't understand. We need to be better in tough situations collectively.
"The thing that was disappointing was there wasn't any faith in the team we assembled and the group of men that wanted to wear that jersey with the pride it deserved."
Kidwell is in the firing line when he comes under review in January but Blair continues to stand by his embattled coach.
Under Kidwell's reign, the Kiwis have won just three games and drawn one of their 10 outings.
Blair said Kidwell has added a lot to the team in terms of their off-field culture.
"David's put in a lot of things and changed a lot of things about playing for the Kiwis," he said.
"We've done some tough work in some tough circumstances and he's been put in some rough situations.
"The results don't look that good for David but the more you change you bring about, the less stability you have as a group. The more we can get in behind David and work together as a whole the Kiwis will get better."
But off-field culture changes will be little consolation for an already detached Kiwis supporter base after lacklustre performances against Fiji and Tonga.
Despite feeling hard done by from the fans, Blair said the Kiwis need them in their corner going forward.
"We need Kiwi fans to get behind us. We need them. They turn up and support us and we need that," he said.
"It's shown throughout the tournament with the Tongan fans and how passionate they are about their team. We go to games and there is more red than black, more blue than black.
"We need the fans."