The chief executive of New Zealand rugby league Phil Holden says they were in a no-win situation over whether or not they included dual international Sonny Bill Williams in their world cup squad.
Williams has back-tracked on his initial decision not to make himself available for the tournament which starts in Britain later this month.
He wasn't named in the squad but has since told coach Stephen Kearney he wants to play, which meant Kearney had to drop Melbourne Storm player Tohu Harris to make way for Williams.
Holden says whether they were going to be criticised no matter what decision they made over Williams.
However he says their priority is to win the World Cup and Williams will make them a stronger team.