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Raider Rogues make pom-pom shake-up promise

Rogue Dolls Australia try out for the Raiderettes at Belconnen Raiders Club on Friday.

Rogue Dolls Australia try out for the Raiderettes at Belconnen Raiders Club on Friday. Photo: Jay Cronan

They're rogue by name and have promised to be rogue by nature, with the head of the Canberra Raiders' new dance troupe promising a unique experience for fans this year.

But the news has disappointed some, who believe the glamourous performers will do nothing to create a more family-friendly environment at Canberra Stadium.

Rogue Dolls Australia director and owner Melissa Gelonese said she was honoured after being informed on Monday her charges would be taking over the cheerleading entertainment following a try-out session last Friday.

Rogue Dolls Australia try out for the Raiderettes.

Rogue Dolls Australia try out for the Raiderettes. Photo: Jay Cronan

"We have been informed, and we've been successful," Ms Gelonese said.

"We're not going to be as run-of-the-mill as most cheerleaders.

"It's not pom-pom oriented.

The Heat try outs for the 2014 Raiderettes at Belconnen Raiders Club. Click for more photos

Raiderettes try outs

Cheerleading groups try out to become the 2014 Raiderettes, at Belconnen Raiders Club. Photo: Jay Cronan

"It's original and the NRL haven't seen it … It's very different from what has been previously."

The Gungahlin-based company has offices in Sydney, Gold Coast and soon Melbourne, but Ms Gelonese said the core of the new Raiderettes would be locals.

"They'll be Canberra-based girls - we may from time to time bring some girls down from Sydney," she said.

She said about three-quarters of the girls who danced on Friday were from Canberra, with the rest Sydney-based, with auditions this Sunday in Canberra for further local talent.

A previous holder (with a different company) of the cheerleading contract for the Parramatta Eels, Ms Gelonese said she also intended to introduce a junior and teen squad of Raiderettes to perform at each home game.

Rogue Dolls is promoted on its website as "Australia's most marketable, sensational and stunning dance troupe" and presents a range of production and cabaret shows, with members also able to hired as hostesses, models and brand representatives.

A Raiders member and young mother said she had concerns about Rogue Dolls's tryout success, which a family member - part of the 2013 Raiderettes - had learnt of on Monday afternoon.

''I know there [are] a lot of people that are outraged already by the decision that has just been made,'' the woman said.

''I wouldn't have cared if they were a different squad, but replacing them with a burlesque dance outfit is a bit much, [and] from Sydney.''

''Considering the reasoning for the whole auditioning - to get it more family-friendly - I just don't see how replacing it with them has made it any different.''

''She's probably going to need to tone down her dancers.''

While in November 2012 Rogue Dolls performed Welcome to Burlesque at Canberra Theatre, Ms Gelonese said that was a one-off production.

"We're not burlesque dancers," she said. "They're jazz dancers, classically trained dancers.

"What we did was a production with a theme, which was based on the movie Burlesque.

"We don't do any burlesque work other than that theme."

A Canberra Raiders spokesman said only that a decision was expected to be made in the next week.

"We haven't confirmed who it's going to be," the spokesman said.

Rogue Dolls was one of five dance groups - another being the 2013 Raiderettes - competing for this year's cheerleading role at the tryouts at the Belconnen Raiders Club.

Ms Gelonese promised fans her entertainers would draw attention, even during the usual stampede for a half-time meal.

"I'd encourage the fans to certainly come along to the first game because you're in for a big surprise," she said.

"It'll definitely be something that will stop people lining up at the canteen."


  • Wow just looked up their website. Dunno how they are going to make that family friendly. I'm siding with the young mum. Should be an interesting year for the raiders entertainment.

    Date and time
    February 11, 2014, 12:46AM
    • Umm, I don't think you can use that first photo?

      Date and time
      February 11, 2014, 7:40AM
    • Not a single video on their own website which is appropriate for younger children.
      I'm yet to see their 'classical and jazz' background - walking and moving your hips from side to side is a very poor use of their supposed skills :(

      Date and time
      February 11, 2014, 11:43AM
  • Raiders should concentrate on improving their football. And this mob of "corporate hostesses" and "burlesque" dancers (both terms used liberally on their website) may attract the dirty raincoat brigade, but serious crowd numbers will only improve with seriously good footy.

    Pride of Erindale
    Date and time
    February 11, 2014, 6:20AM
    • So the mother has concerns over their appointment but its got nothing to do with the fact her family member is a Raiderette and missed out on the job? Spokeswoman - "Its not pom-pom oriented", yet in just about every photo of her girls there they are. "Stop people lining up at the canteen". Sweetheart, it will be the crap food priced about 4 times what it should be that will keep people from lining up at the canteens. Not you. And the only half time stampede at Raiders games are the suckers in lime green heading for their cars because again, their sides already down by 30.

      Date and time
      February 11, 2014, 6:42AM
      • J72, CORRECT.
        What about some kids footy???

        Date and time
        February 11, 2014, 8:11AM
      • No! No, no, no, no and no! That's amateur hour. I am so sick of seeing little kids running around at half-time. It's cheap entertainment that only their parents give a toss about. You see what some US College teams can do at half time and the Raiders' entertainment is a sick and miserable world away. Night games - how about some fireworks or flame machines? Day games - what about having a touring act that would be in Canberra anyway do a short performance? During Super League when money was no object, Belinda Carlisle, who was still a star back then, did a half time show, arriving in a helicopter. I doubt we'll ever see this again, but c'mon.

        Date and time
        February 11, 2014, 8:10PM
    • This sort of 'entertainment' went out of fashion years ago - which says plenty about Rugby League. What say the feminists - comment please.

      Bega Valley
      Date and time
      February 11, 2014, 7:12AM
      • Well, as a "feminist" and a former athlete, who has competed in and watched a lot of sport all over the world, I have been exposed to cheerleading in the States. It's a HUGE sport there and to label them as simply fodder for the raincoat brigade shows ignorance. Australia, as always, has a long way to go to catch up, but as a sport - yes, sport, it's growing enormously in this country. I was "dragged" along to the National Championships in the States, about 10 years ago and was stunned. These men and women are gymnasts, dancers, athletes of grace and strength. It would be great for those boys and girls here, in this bastion country of chauvanism, if some of the troupes could start showing exactly why this sport is just that - a sport. (Btw - not a cheerleader - never been one - just an admirer of anyone doing something they love. If it doesn't hurt another person, of course.)

        Jen 2.0
        Date and time
        February 11, 2014, 8:47AM
      • lol.. Got hammered, Well said Jen 2.0, well said, Ian is still stuck in the 80's..

        Date and time
        February 11, 2014, 11:30AM

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