Kiwis captain Adam Blair described the 4-2 loss to Fiji, which ousted his side from the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup, as "not a negative".
In some bizarre post-match comments, the New Zealand leader - who was chewing gum - described the humiliating loss as a "great game to watch".
Blair was interviewed by Sky Sport's Monty Betham in the immediate aftermath of the maiden meeting between the sides at a poorly-attended Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
"[We] have to go back and reflect on what we've done in the tournament," Blair said.
"It's not a negative for us. We're going to build something here and we've got some great young talent coming through."
Blair preferred to give credit to Fiji.
"It was do or die for both teams who put it on the line.
"Our boys turned up, worked together as a group, and in the end a couple of penalties put them in front.
Betham asked him what their strategy was coming in.
"Be us," Blair said. "Play our way, they were tough, resilient and played for the 80 [minutes].
"You got to give credit to everyone on field. It was a great game to watch."
When the coverage returned to the studio, former Kiwis coach Brian McClennan offered his view.
"I'm surprised by how Blairy talked at the end there - it's bizarre.
"I know Blairy. He's just got it wrong - whoever is teaching him this, you've got it wrong - you've got to wear your heart on your sleeve all the time, you're representing your country."
Fijian captain Kevin Naiqama said the victory was "indescribable".
"I had the utmost belief when we went into camp that we could win this game. We're going all the way."