ACT News


NRL: Rogue Doll decision leaves 2013 Raiderettes cheerless

Members of the Canberra Raiders' popular cheerleading group - the Raiderettes - say the club has mishandled its decision to hire a professional dance troupe to perform this season.

Dancers said the group was ''very disappointed'' at the decision, after club officials had sought more family-friendly entertainment as part of a review into game-day entertainment.

The comments call into question a new agreement with Rogue Dolls Australia, who promote themselves as the country's ''most marketable, sensational and stunning dance troupe''.

The group's choreography has included burlesque-style routines, with dancers wearing revealing costumes and offering themed performances.

Its website says the troupe has a ''signature Vegas/Pussycat Dolls/cabaret style''.

One veteran Raiderette said the existing group was better placed to provide family-friendly entertainment to Canberra fans.


''I heard that the Raiders wanted to be blown away at auditions and I guess that on the day that's what the Rogue Dolls did,'' said the performer, who asked not to be named.

''I think as long as the girls remember that it's not all about dancing and they still need to get involved with the fans on the day, that's the most important thing.

''We cared a lot about mingling with the children as they came through the gates and spending time with families, and then having time to dance on the field.''

Raiders chief executive Don Furner said cost and cold weather were factors in the decision to review entertainment.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the club said no commercial agreement had been finalised with Rogue Dolls Australia or other parties, despite the group's owner, Melissa Gelonese, confirming their selection this week. The spokesman said no decision had been made about the use of the Raiderettes name for the new performers.

Rogue Dolls was one of four dance groups auditioning alongside the 2013 Raiderettes in tryouts at the Belconnen Raiders Club last week.

On Monday, Ms Gelonese said the group would be made up of mostly Canberra dancers and junior and teen squads would perform at home games.

The Gungahlin company has offices in Sydney and the Gold Coast, and Ms Gelonese has provided cheerleading services for the Parramatta Eels.

Raiderettes members said they were not given sufficient notice of the audition schedule. ''We were kept out of the loop for too long,'' one member said.

''A lot of the girls didn't find out until that week when the auditions were going to be held and it wasn't enough notice for people who work full-time.

''They told us we would know by Christmas what was going on but we had to follow up with them in January because we hadn't heard anything.''

Ms Gelonese did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. Auditions for Rogue Dolls Australia are expected to be held on Sunday.


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