Lewis Brown admits the Kiwis were "rattled" after news of the north Canterbury earthquake filtered through to the camp ahead of this weekend's Four Nations final against Australia.
The utility says Monday morning's (NZT) final was far from the players' minds when news arrived of the damaging quake which struck close to midday on Sunday (UKT). The quake hit just before Australia and England met in London, a match which determined whether the Kiwis would qualify for the final in Liverpool.
The result went their way when Australia won but Brown revealed a lot of his team didn't watch the game, for various reasons. For some, it was because of the news unfolding at home, with concern over the continuing aftershocks.
"Obviously it's a bit close to home for us," Brown said. "The boys are a bit rattled. A few of them are from Wellington and some of them had families evacuated or friends who got evacuated."
Brown was born and raised in Christchurch and was quickly on the phone to family members.
Relief that nobody was harmed was followed by anguish that his home town is suffering again, nearly six years after the devastating 2011 Christchurch quake.
"The city's been through a lot," he said. "I just want it to give them a break. Everyone's wondering when it's going to stop. It's not very pleasant seeing things like that happen in your own backyard."
Brown is confident the Kiwis can put events at home to one side and focus on how to avoid a fourth loss this year to the unbeaten Kangaroos.
Saturday's scratchy 18-18 draw with Scotland compared unfavourably with Australia's impressive 36-18 dismantling of the English.
Brown says the Kiwis have struggled for consistency at the tournament and the Scottish performance was a step backwards from the opening 17-16 win over England and 14-8 loss to Australia.
"It's a wake-up call, to be honest. Maybe a blessing in disguise," he said. "We haven't had a full 80 minutes of football. We have a lot of calibre in this side and we haven't put it together yet.
"Luckily enough for us, we get another bite at the cherry. But it hasn't been ideal."