Andrew Johns, the former Australia and New South Wales halfback, has slammed the Kiwis after their 18-all draw with Scotland.
The result leaves the Kiwis hopes of reaching the Four Nations final depending on the result of England v the Kangaroos, needing the Australians to come away with a convincing win.
Speaking after the game, Johns told Channel 9 that the Kiwis attitude did not warrant the right result against their supposedly weaker opposition.
"I think their attitude was awful. They just thought they'd turn up and win the game. And well done to Scotland they played really well and they played with a lot of spirit.
"But you look at the line-ups and compare the teams and the talent of the teams: if New Zealand had their heads on they would've won by 40 points.
"I know conditions were tough but their attitude stunk ... It's attitude for the Kiwis, they need a huge attitude readjustment if they get through [to the final]."
Johns, widely regarded as one of the greatest halfbacks to play the game, also targeted Kiwis and Warriors star Shaun Johnson.
"I was talking to a couple of really good judges the last couple of weeks and they all say Shaun Johnson's a five-eighth, not a halfback," said Johns.
"He doesn't manage the game well enough and it doesn't suit his game and I think I've got to agree with them.
"If he plays five eighth it lets him rove around and play with that freedom. I just don't think the game management for Shaun suits his style of play.
"Shaun's kicking game, all series it's been really poor.
"I watched (the) last game against the Australians. A few times he ran the ball on the last, kicked it into the grandstand. His game management has been really poor and that needs to improve."
Johnson was controversially awarded man-of-the-match after the draw with Scotland.