The game is being played in Dunedin this Saturday, a long way from rugby league’s Kiwi heartland in Auckland.
“New Zealanders are extremely patriotic so rugby fans will turn up no matter what but they just won’t be the traditional rugby league supporters,” said Hunter-Paul.
“Playing in Dunedin is no big an advantage to New Zealand.
“Of course I am extremely biased and the odds are with the Kiwis, they’re on home soil, there is a confidence brewing within the team but they can’t be thinking of the final already, they must focus on this game.
“They have to replicate the dominance and ad-hoc kind of rugby they have shown.
“It is so important that they respect the ball against the Kiwis or else they’ll be in trouble.
“On the other hand, they have nothing to lose and they are such a young squad, they’ll be wanting to live the fairy tale.”
Hunter-Paul is expecting a fine game, however, with both teams packed with talent.
“This game is virtually a semi-final, both coaches will be saying to their players that this is a must-win situation and just because the Kiwis have won all their games, it is no foregone conclusion that they will reach the final,” he added.
“There are some real gems that have been uncovered in the Kiwi squad including Shaun Johnson, who seems to always make something out of nothing, and Manu Vatuvei, who finishes strongly every single time he has the ball: however the team is a far from a completed product.