By Renee Bogatko, Image Credit – The Emeralds/facebook.com
Raiders fans won’t see pom poms and kicks during footy games this year, with the Canberra club dropping its cheerleading squad.
Instead, local dance schools will get the chance to perform at home games.
The green machine is the second club in rugby league to let go of its cheerleading squad, after the Rabbitohs in 2007.
The move, which has had mixed reviews online, is part of the club’s plans to create more opportunities for the community to get involved.
“We’re always looking at ways in which we can further engage the community and the Raiders dance competition is a wonderful way for local dance schools to perform in front of a big crowd and help us entertain our member and fans on match day,” Raiders Commercial & Marketing Manager, Jason Mathie, said.
“Hopefully it will introduce new people to our game day also, which is a key area of focus for us in season 2017.”
It’s understood, the decision had nothing to do with negative views of cheerleading or the squad’s performance.
The move has attracted mixed responses on social media, with many expressing their outrage on The Emerald’s Facebook page.
“What an absolute shame and what a shame for all the charities that the Emerald’s supported and worked for. What’s going to happen to them? How is this “better” for the community? Not to mention, the young ones in the audience have lost some great role models!” Nikki wrote.
“I for one am extremely disappointed in this short sighted move as it looks like there’s been an agenda within the club to do this for the past couple of years. The girls are just as much a part of the club as the guys and have shared their wins, losses, success and failure over the years,” Johnny commented.
“I think this is disgusting! To disband the Raiderettes, a long standing part of the club history and replace them with a squad that only lasts a couple of years is insulting to the members! Completely disgraceful behaviour!!” Conrad said.
While, others say it’s long overdue.
“Very good decision, sorry but the cheerleaders were a complete turn off. Even though this decision is to get more parents to the game, it is a good move,” Jack wrote.
“Cheerleading is an American custom which, like many other Americanisms, we have imported. We don’t need to use scantily clad women as fluffy entertainment and a come-on prior to a blokey game from which women have traditionally been excluded,” PRS said.
Dance schools can apply online for their chance to perform.