Besieged Kiwis coach David Kidwell insists criticism of their failed Rugby League World Cup campaign is short-sighted while bemoaning a lack of support from the New Zealand public and media.
The Kiwis tournament hopes ended with a disastrous 4-2 quarter-final loss to Fiji in Wellington last night - their second-straight defeat to a second-tier nation following last week's shock 28-22 pool loss to Tonga in Hamilton.
Despite calls for Kidwell to resign after the Kiwis managed just three wins from 10 starts since he was appointed last September, he remains convinced there are positives to take out of the tournament and says the scathing criticism of the team is unfair.
"Well, that's short-term sighted," Kidwell told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch.
"We have built something here, we want good people here that want to represent this jersey and they know the standards and values when they come in.
"These boys have shaped these values that we have and I don't want those values be stripped right down."
Kidwell and Kiwis captain Adam Blair both voiced their frustration over a perceived lack of goodwill from the New Zealand public and media and lamented the fact both Tonga and Samoa enjoyed greater support from the local Pacific island communities.
Seemingly oblivious to the outrage and contempt alienated Kiwis fans are feeling in the wake of the side's embarrassing capitulation over the last week, the pair echoed comments from halfback Shaun Johnson post-match believing the media and fans had got their way in wanting the Kiwis to fail.
"We deserved more than what people gave us credit for," said Blair.
"We had a lot thrown at us early on in our campaign from outside influences but we stayed strong and tried to push that all aside.
"It's hard when we try to do everything possible to bring games back to New Zealand to play in front of our fans and then we've got people not giving us a chance from the get-go.
"The thing that was disappointing is no one had any faith in the team we had assembled and the group of men that wanted to wear that jersey with the pride and respect that it deserved."
Kidwell said he was happy to accept criticism from people who had made an effort to attend their matches but felt there was too much negativity surrounding their campaign.
"I just think it's the world, it's so negatively geared," he said.
"We're looking for support from our country, from our home fans, and yes it helps.
"Down in Christchurch we had some really great support. In Hamilton Tonga had really great support.
"We just need to start loving our team. If they had come out and supported us on the field they have every right to feel like they have the right to point the finger at us.
"Were they there to support us? If they were there at the game, one hundred per cent they've got every right."
Rather than stand down Kidwell said he would take a couple of weeks to consider his future before deciding whether to seek re-appointment.
The New Zealand Rugby League are set to announce this week the formation of an independent panel that will complete a review of the Kiwis campaign by January.