TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 05: Cowgirls cheerleaders perform before the start of the round one NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks at 1300SMILES Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Do cheerleaders still have a place in the modern game?


News broke during the week that the Canberra Raiders were going to become the latest NRL side to remove cheerleaders from their pre-match and halftime entertainment.

The move follows similar policies being installed by clubs such as the Rabbitohs, who famously replaced their cheerleaders with drummers.

At the time the move was both welcomed and mocked in equally large numbers and the jury will forever be out on what, if anything, was achieved by the move.

The Raiders will replace the pre-match entertainment provided by the girls by inviting groups of dancers from local schools and academies.

The thinking behind the move is simple; they hope that families of the youngsters dancing at any given game will come along to watch, fall in love with the Raiders, and become members.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 24: Sharks cheerleaders line up before the round eight NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Southern Cross Group Stadium on April 24, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Similar strategies have been employed by clubs such as the Eels and Sharks for many years, with some success.

The aforementioned move to replace pre-match cheer routines and dances with the hitting of canvas with sticks was introduced by Souths under the belief that pretty, young girls dancing somehow made people feel uncomfortable.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should disclose that I am a thirty-year-old, heterosexual male, who has never been made to feel uncomfortable by such dancing.

The move by the Raiders poses the question, do the cheer squads have a place in modern NRL?

After all, this isn’t the NFL, and these aren’t professional cheer squads meticulously put together to aid both fan engagement and marketing strategies on a national and international level.

Has the existence of cheerleaders ever inspired a team to victory?

Would the NRL cease to exist if the Seabirds, Mermaids or Flames stopped dancing at halftime during NRL fixtures?

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 02: Storm cheerleaders perform before the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Of course not, but kids would still turn up to games if clubs stopped providing face painting, and adults would continue to support their team if clubs stopped merchandising jerseys also.

Yet all three are fun aspects of the overall NRL game day experience and should remain just that.

First and foremost these are hardworking women who are employed by their clubs to both entertain and help promote their clubs.

How often do you see the Cronulla Mermaids walking the Arcades in the shire, promoting the team whilst the players train?

The Cowgirls have been an integral part of marketing and promotion up north for many years.

How often do members of the Pantherettes appear in local advertising out Penrith way?

To most, the cheerleaders are just eye candy to provide entertainment to fill the minutes before kickoff, and at halftime.

In reality, they are out there promoting their team in the bitter cold prior to kick off. They’re posing for photos with young kids, they’re selling tickets to help fund junior league programs.

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES – OCTOBER 02: Jnr Sharks fans at Southern Cross Group Stadium with the Sharks Cheerleaders to watch the 2016 NRL Grand Final on October 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Hell, sometimes they’re the ones taking your mind off the fact your team is down by 18 points and can’t hold the ball.

The fact is, they work hard.

The fact is, they’re fun. They’re an important and FUN part of the game day experience, and to suggest they be removed from NRL-wide game day activities is laughable.

I’ve never felt uncomfortable by their existence. Neither has my wife, my daughter, my mother, or anyone else I have ever spoken to, ever.

I fully support the efforts by the Raiders to engage young people in the local community, but why does it have to come at the cost of jobs of those formerly employed by the club?

Perhaps it is a cost cutting measure?

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 10: Panthers cheerleaders perform before the round two NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Pepper Stadium on March 10, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

That said, considering the clubs spend ridiculous money on printing face masks that end up littering the hills after the one fixture they’re printed for, I don’t think NRL sides are leading the charge when it comes to championing savings accounts.

I don’t know the reasons behind the decision in Canberra, but some of the suggestions that cheerleaders are no longer part of the game day experience are complete rubbish.

If you’re OK supporting a code that has produced some of the most ridiculous headlines in recent journalistic times, a code that promotes grown men throwing each other into the ground with force, yet you draw the line at young women dancing in skirts on a cold Saturday Night, then I don’t know what to tell you.


55 COMMENTS

  1. I’m indifferent either way, personally wouldn’t really miss them but do acknowledge that they do a lot to promote the club.

    The most interesting thing I took out of the article though is the name of the Panthers cheerleaders. Are they seriously called the Pantherettes?

  2. is this stupid post even debatable?? of course they do there the leaders of the support … what a stupid question..believe that

  3. Souths in damage control….
    Players turning up to training loaded from the night before….

    Think it’s fair to say they’ll now get the spoon… 🙂

    • thebatman, I can only assume the “slightly annoyed” Bunnies supporters keep getting their reply posts denied.

      Big call, for what I thought was a small incident. Wasn’t it just Nielson?

      Dan Nicholls, you have to cover this story, please?

        • ”Players” – there was only one. How many other clubs have let similar incidents slide? Souths have a very high standard so the message is ”Don’t mess with Madge”.

        • The truth of the matter is that Neilson was involved in a massive breakup with his girlfriend and lost his discipline and hit the drink at the wrong time.
          She did the dirty on him!

          The training session time was changed from 3 pm to 9 am at the eleventh hour and he was caught out.
          If the training session was at 3 pm, he would have been OK and NO issue what so ever.

          That is why he wasn’t sacked!
          A bit of inside info for you all.

        • Good to see you back too 3hats. And look, no comment whatsoever about your “what so ever” slip up. Or is that “chalky” and cheese? 😉 Not too sure if Dane Nielsen gave you permission to share his personal life on a public forum though?

        • SSTID_1970, What the hell makes you Judge Jury and executioner of my comments? ALL THE BLOODY TIME.
          Are you GOD on this website, is your opinion the only correct opinion?
          You seem to correct and dispute everyone on here, I have had a gut full of it!
          Mind your own bloody business!
          You have slagged me off way too many times.
          Get over yourself, you know very little when it comes to Souths matters of FACT.

          Neilson’s situation is common knowledge, only because you haven’t heard anything about it don’t blame me for filling in the punters on the true facts!

          If you don’t want any more CORRECT news written about Souths just say so.
          OR do you only want to believe the LIES that is written in the Press?

          I qualified the situation by offering the readers WHY this situation occurred.
          It is a common situation amongst many men.

          I wouldn’t want people to think that Neilson was like Pearce, Carter and Auva’a
          A Party Boy. Just out on the town for a good time and getting pissed!

          Mental demons may affect plenty!

  4. YEA 4 SURE , THEY PLAY A BIG PART IN CHEERING ON THE CROWD I THINK ITS A LOT BETTER THAN RIDING A POLE 4 THE GIRLS. look at the NFL cheerleader teams they have been a big part of there game longer then the NRL’s been around . Yea its a keeper

  5. I would be happy to seat beside anyone and bash my drum in there ear all night what would they object to then …lol

  6. never been a fan of cheerleaders.i use to love team sprints or relays at halftime going back years.never been a fan of cheerleaders.i prefer junior games at breaks or even fan goal kicking.In saying that id love to see a womans nines comp run before the game and half time.so every nrl club has a womans 9s what play on game day.2×10 minute halfs

  7. never been a fan of cheerleaders.i use to love team sprints or relays at halftime going back years.never been a fan of cheerleaders.i prefer junior games at breaks or even fan goal kicking.In saying that id love to see a womans nines comp run before the game and half time.so every nrl club has a womans 9s what play on game day.2×10 minute halfs

    • cheerleaders are never goin to bring ppl to a game,im not saying a womans 9s would but i think it would appeal and make game day better.i know it would cost clubs but if you worked it out really it could cost clubs only about a million a season if it was semi pro.15 players to a roster x $40 000,plus travel expences and using nrl staff wouldnt be much more,but i really think ppl would get into it.so that would cost nrl say 20 mil a season to run but im quite sure they would make it back

  8. pretty sure if the nrl tried selling it they would get 20mil for tv rights.i know if id just watched game on tv and after it was half hour program with it on and with female commentators id tune in and i know my missus would love it..aahhhh i hate shift work,get home everyone in bed,missus has aliens so no point waking her,so just me and victoria B and music blaring in head phones

  9. I would very much like to blame this bs on political correctness nowadays. Why break tradition from the complaints of the stupid left wing.

  10. I am a happily married man and I love the cheerleaders. Go too 2 home games in a month and see more flesh than what I would at home!

  11. A cheerleader to me is someone who goes and gets the carton from the bottleshop…crikey dot com fair dinkum.

    • DoorMatt… Bahahahahahahahaha! Nice one eelsalmighty! I was thinking more of “Toilet Duck” because it gets rid of unwanted “stains”. DoorMatt it is then!

      • Ahhh, Reg Reagan, the Roosters supporter if I’m not mistaken.

        Lucky “your mate” is still on the bench. I thought thebatman’s comments were going to attract a few “please explains”.

    • We should all be ashamed of ourselves. Poor Reg has only been on the site for a few days, and has been nothing but nice, and everyone is baiting him.

      I wish your Rooster’s every success this season, except when they play Parra of course.

    • You ARE a cheeky little fella aren’t you young Trollz? Trollz by name, Trollz by nature hey? If by toxic you mean intoxicated, like Dane Nielsen who turned up to training with a skinful, then it IS a bloody disgrace… a disgrace he was the only one! Back in the day all the boys were at the Bat and Ball the night before the game and during that period (1967 – 1971) they won 4 premierships in 5 years (the Tigers took the lollies in 1969). In days passed the whole team would rock up for training the worse for wear, do a couple of extra lapses of the oval, have a laugh and give the coach a pat on the backside and all would be forgiven. Even Bennett surprised Lote Tuqiri once on heartbreak hill and caught him bludging, he just shook his head and had a laugh. Now that’s old school coaching.

      The game’s gone soft fellas, I’m telling ya. Like I’ve said before, the Bunnies need to drink a cup of cement and toughen up! They need to go old school and find their mongrel (think Les Davidson, Mark “Spud” Carroll, Gary Hambly, John Sattler).

        • silvertail47, You and about 3 others by the look of it. There is now “the Great Wall of ZT” built between us and the ferals. Stick to our side and stay away from the darkness. That’s my aim going forward. You just end up getting lost in all the negative energy. I’ve also ditched my mate Baileys. He got me into a lot of trouble over the holidays!

      • Sorry Reg, normally the folks on ZT are more welcoming of new faces. Thanks for running messages for me, I’ll take it from here. I don’t expect to have a re-“laps”. Cheers. Some folks have started showing their true colours that’s for sure.

  12. Sharks will not sign Segeyaro now, who I believe will be left in limbo for the 2017 season. Instead Cronulla are looking at getting Manlys Jayden Hodges. His manager is talking to multiple clubs but Cronulla have expressed interest. If that happens then I would assume that will leave Brown or of the 17 and have Cherrington, Hodges and Brailet battling for a start and bench spot. Watch this space.

  13. Of course they have a place in the modern game to provide entertainment to the crowd and my friend down low

    • Hey mate ,sure was hot in that cell ,,, was starting to like the 4am whipping sessions,fair dinkum aie !!!!

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