There were a few awkward moments at Westpac Stadium's East Lounge yesterday.
Hats off to the Warriors for organising a media session to promote their May 11 "home" NRL clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs. They've even commissioned a one-off black-and-yellow strip for the match, and underlined their commitment to this city by donating $10,000 to the cash-strapped Wellington Rugby League.
It's all laudable stuff, even if the delivery of yesterday's messages caused the odd cringe.
Canberra, the Bulldogs and Parramatta have brought home matches against the Warriors to different grounds in New Zealand before, Westpac Stadium among them. But the May 11 game will mark the first occasion that the Warriors have taken a competition match of their own away from Auckland.
So there was a bit of history about what was being talked up yesterday, even if the stage management was a bit ropey.
Celia Wade-Brown is an authority of many things, although you would suspect rugby league isn't among them. Yet the mayor kicked off proceedings by enthusing about the Warriors' imminent arrival, and her certainty that they'll give the Doggies a darn good game in a few weeks' time.
Stadium chairman John Shewan made similar noises, while also indicating to Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah that the ground is keen and able to host an NRL match every year.
Scurrah himself spoke before Warriors coach Matt Elliott was given the unenviable task of taking to the microphone and trying to convince the assembled audience he'd waited all his life to take a team to Westpac. A consummate pro, Australian Elliott did it well, but you felt for him just the same.
To give Wade-Brown her due, she didn't flinch when presented with a Warriors jersey. It was a snug fit, but she gamefully pulled it on. The men who received jerseys after her didn't bother and probably sensibly so.
None looked quite as fit as the mayor, who was merrily pedalling back to work when The Dominion Post eventually departed. To further mark the occasion, Warriors management brought with them the three members of their top squad with capital connections.
Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino and Alehana Mara all represented Wellington with distinction at age-group level, and seemed genuinely pleased to be back in town.
Mannering and Matulino both spoke eloquently and stories on each of them will appear later this week.
The undoubted highlight was the cheque presentation, though. Mostly because it very nearly brought WRL general manager Jason Hemson to tears.
"Mate, I'm absolutely blown away - speechless. I knew they were going to be handing out a few jerseys, but I had no idea about this," Hemson said afterwards.
"That'll put a huge dent in our fundraising for our junior programmes this year."
- © Fairfax NZ News