An independent review into the Kiwis' disastrous World Cup last year has highlighted a systemic failure of leadership from New Zealand Rugby League to identify and manage high performance problems.
Sports barrister Tim Castle and former NRL Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle released their findings looking at the performance of the players and team management in Auckland on Friday.
The Kiwis' 2017 tournament ended in a shock 4-2 defeat to Fiji in the quarter-finals, following on from an earlier 28-22 loss to Tonga.
The review found a there was a "complete lack" of proven high performance sport expertise within the NZRL, and of any supporting structures for sustained success.
NZRL leaders failed to identify high performance problems and inadequacies, the review said, and had no obvious ability to identify and manage any resulting risks.
The Kiwis' 2017 World Cup campaign was disadvantaged by the appointment of an inexperienced coach, David Kidwell.
While Kidwell showed undoubted potential, the review said he tried to implement too much in limited time and treated the World Cup as a Test event instead of the pinnacle of the Kiwis' four-year calendar.
In turn, NZRL let Kidwell down in not providing him with a "carefully and strategically designed" 2014-2017 high level Kiwis campaign plan.
"In our view the head coach should have, upon his appointment, asked for and insisted on being provided with that high level plan."
The review said Kidwell acknowledged that indeed he should have done this but had not.
"We consider that his failing in this regard was unsatisfactory. It does not however, in our view, excuse the failure of NZRL senior leadership to provide its Kiwis head coach with that high level plan."
The NZRL has already implemented a recommendation to change current policy that the Kiwis' coach must be a New Zealander.
The review recommended "open recruitment and appointment processes to ensure the best person for the position is appointed".
NZRL board chairman Reon Edwards welcomed the review findings, and said the process was "robust and enlightening".
"Disappointing as it was, the Kiwis 2017 loss could ultimately be for the best for the game," he said.
"This is a good wake-up call and an opportunity for a fresh start."
Edwards said the review clearly identified where things went wrong, and also provided clear structures to help NZRL implement change.
"They have provided the NZRL a solid framework to help us deliver on our high performance requirements, improve our selection processes, enhance risk management, and ensure we vastly improve our planning and communication."