JOHN Kear believes his Wales players can use criticism from the Australian media as a motivational tool for tomorrow’s must-win Rugby League World Cup game against Fiji in Townsville.

Head coach Kear was critical of the Dragons following their 50-6 drubbing at the hands of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby last weekend, saying they performed like “rank outsiders”.

But he feels the way his side has been treated by the Aussie press is a “little disrespectful”.

Wales will go into the clash with Fiji, who thrashed the USA 58-12 in their opening match of the tournament, as underdogs.

Fiji boast some of the biggest names in rugby league, including Jarryd Hayne, a World Cup winner with Australia in 2013.

“We are underdogs,” said Kear. “We really are perceived as underdogs in the Australian media.

“Perhaps it’s being a little disrespectful, and they don’t see us as viable opposition for Fiji.

“You don’t want to be told you’re not good, it’s bound to motivate you.”

That defeat to Papua New Guinea in searing heat prompted Kear to hold training sessions this week in temperatures exceeding 30C.

Lose to the Fijians and Wales can kiss goodbye to any hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

Newport’s Dalton Grant and Joe Burke will be hoping to get some game time in Queensland after not featuring last Saturday.

Wales are also still waiting for a first World Cup win since 2000.