St George Illawarra Dragons winger Jason Nightingale believes New Zealand lost Sunday's opening Test against England largely because they responded poorly to contentious officiating.
Video referees overturned the call from on-field official Ben Thaler that there had been a knock-on in the lead up to England hooker Josh Hodgson's 20th minute try in the home side's 26-12 win at KC Stadium.
And the decision to disallow centre Jordan Kahu a try six minutes later, due to obstruction, was also extremely contentious.
"We dropped our heads," said St George Illawarra's Nightingale.
"I think we could have done a lot better to turn that into a positive rather than letting it be a negative.
"We've got to accept the rules which we're playing under. They're a little bit different than what we're used to in the NRL.
"But, yeah, we can't drop our heads. We let their momentum grow and that was our main problem."
While fans often blame match officials for defeats, Nightingale said it was more often the response to decisions by players that decide results.
"Exactly - it's how you react to everything," he said.
"We could have reacted better to their first try, which didn't look the best but it was a try.
"If we had more people around the ball and played to the whistle, we might have been able to stop it
"All those sort of things go into it but, yeah, our reaction is more important than the decision itself.
"And our reactions weren't good enough off that no-try, or in the second half, at all."
Nightingale said the appointment of Australian referee Gerard Sutton to the Second Test at London's Olympic Stadium on Sunday was good news for the tourists.
"Yeah, that will be interpretations that we're obviously more used to," he commented.
"I think maybe it should [always] be with a neutral ref but in saying that, we're playing in England and it should be okay to play to their conditions.
"It's just that ... the competitions are very similar but a bit different in a few areas as well."
Nightingale said offloads were "the only way to generate momentum under the one-ref system."
England players were given Monday off following their win while New Zealand moved base to London.
This article first appeared on NRL.com