England prop James Graham was concussed as he claimed a late try – which was disallowed – in Saturday's loss to New Zealand and probably should have been replaced, according to rival Sam Moa.
The Sydney Roosters forward has also dubbed second rowers Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor "the new Hair Bears" – a reference to hirsute former Kiwi stars Joe Galuvao and Tony Puletua.
A key moment in a dour struggle came when Canterbury's Graham chased a Josh Hodgson kick and flopped on the ball just to the left of the posts with 11 minutes remaining and the Kiwis ahead by six.
Referee Gerard Sutton sent the decision upstairs as a try but video officials Phil Bentham and James Child disagreed, ruling Graham had no control of the ball.
"To be fair, I don't think James knew who he was when he stood up," said Moa.
"He played on, which he's not supposed to do but it's his call. Hopefully he's alright. That's what we care for, player welfare.
"Hopefully he'll be playing next week. You want your best players playing and he's certainly one of the best."
Moa spoke of "pride" and "heart" as the key ingredients in a rugged, less-than-spectacular 9-2 win at London's Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
And the prop's stars were Melbourne's Proctor and Harris
"I said after the game 'you two golly wogs had a blinder'," Moa laughed.
"Just from watching from the sidelines when I was off, they really dug in and I can't speak highly enough of those two guys.
"They showed a lot heart and on the back of that a lot of skill.
"I think they're the new hair bears – with a bit more finesse and flair. The old hair bears just used to bash everyone. I think these two, they're two special players and we're lucky to have them in our side.
"It's hard to get any words out of Tohu at the best of times. He just looked at me gave me a smile [when I called him a golly wog]. I was lucky. I was scared at the same time when I said it. I got away with that one."
A series win in Wigan would be a big achievement for a Kiwis line-up missing stars like Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei.
"It would be extremely satisfying," said Moa. "You know, we haven't listened to what everybody's been saying about who's missing.
"I think it shows pride in the nation and pride in the jersey for guys to step into the role and play tremendously, as they have done.
"It wasn't a great start to the series, we were poor.
"We're a small nation with a small population but we like to consider ourselves people with big hearts and I thought we showed that [in the Second Test]."
Moa said young half Tui Lolohea took his axing, in favour of Kodi Nikorima, bravely
"He handled it really well, to be honest. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He knows he's just got to work hard and it's not the end of the road for him by any means. He did a tremendous job for us last week. Kodi was put in this week for a different job and it worked for us.
"He's a good kid, Tui, and he'll be fine."
While the game was one for the purists, with some rugby league fans lamenting an opportunity to win over new fans in London had been lost, the Kiwis were making no apologies.
"It wasn't a pretty game but it's one of those games you take tremendous pride out of," said Moa.
"You do take more pride out of those games than the games you win by a big margin.
"You can't underestimate how physically taxing those sorts of games are."