New Zealand Rugby League chairman Reon Edwards has apologised to Kiwi fans after senior players turned on supporters following the World Cup disaster.
Edwards issued an apology although he said coach David Kidwell, captain Adam Blair and senior playmaker Shaun Johnson would not be reprimanded.
Edwards blamed the heat of the battle for the trio's bizarre attack on fans and the media following disastrous losses to Tonga and Fiji which saw the 2008 champions exit before the semifinals.
Edwards told the Radio Sport Breakfast he felt "sick to the stomach" after the loss to Fiji "just like many of our fans out there".
"An apology to the league fans out there is required - I certainly don't think it was necessary or appropriate to make those comments," said Edwards, the former Canterbury chairman who took over as the NZRL head in August.
"I'd like to apologise to the rugby league fans out there. I don't think it was at all required, it wasn't necessary. Our league fans wear their heart on their sleeve like we all do and they have every right to be disappointed and upset about that result on the weekend.
"They are human beings...they have acknowledged they probably could have handled that in a much better way which we can all learn form.
Listen: New Zealand Rugby League chairman Reon Edwards
"(WE) have to understand what these players are going through. emotions are high immediately after the game. They have suffered a huge shock loss."
Edwards hoped fans would get behind the team as it tries to rebuild for the next World Cup.
"It will be a tough four years but we will rebuild," he said.
Kidwell, Blair and Johnson said they were upset by a supposed lack of support for the Kiwis during the tournament.