Canberra Raiders Raiderettes from 2010. Photo: Melissa Adams
The future of the Canberra Raiders popular cheerleaders, the Raiderettes, is in doubt as the club conducts a review into its in-game entertainment.
A day after the Canterbury Bulldogs announced the club was ending the performances of its cheerleaders, Raiders chief executive Don Furner said the Raiderettes' future was being considered as part of the review.
Citing cold weather and the cost of performances as considerations, Mr Furner said political correctness would not be a factor in the decision, expected before Christmas.
Raiderettes training session
Raiderettes in action on game day. Photo: Graham Tidy
Raiderette Shaunee Robb said members of the group would be devastated if their activities were axed.
"We haven't been told anything basically... as all these reports are coming out, we're not quite sure what to think," she said.
"It's a bit sad that it might not happen in the future but we'll just wait and see if we get a call."
Ms Robb said members of the group had contacted club administrators for further information but were yet to receive a response.
"It's what we look forward to every weekend because it is a part-time job for most of us and a passion. It's fun and it's the time we get to meet up with the girls and go out there to put smiles on kids' faces.
"If we weren't there, the fans would just walk in, sit in the stadium and wait for the game. We encourage them and all that stuff."
She said the Raiderettes supported charities and community groups and could attract new sponsorship after a deal with previous sponsor Perfume Box ended after two seasons.
Ms Robb dismissed concerns about cold weather during performances.
"It's not really a summer sport, is it? If we were worried about the cold, we wouldn't do it. It's cold but we go out there and dance our butts off."
Raiders commercial and marketing manager Jason Mathie confirmed the club would review all game-day costs in the next fortnight, but denied any pre-approved plan to cut the Raiderettes.
He said the Raiderettes would know by Christmas if they have anything to cheer about in 2014.
''To say the Raiders are the next one to cut their cheerleaders, that's news to me,'' Mathie said.
''We haven't even begun looking at the Raiderettes.
''It will be reviewed but everything's reviewed, we've got to make sure it's viable and also that it's attractive, in terms of it's what people want.''
Mathie said the Raiders' commercial priority had been on its membership drive and sponsorship renewal, but focus could now turn to game-day entertainment.
The Raiders are investing heavily in family-oriented entertainment for next season.
They have committed to a permanent kids zone for all home matches, dominated by a newly purchased 14m long inflatable jumping castle in the shape of a Viking ship.
Ms Robb said the cheerleaders added diversity to Raiders events.
"At the end of the day, people go there to watch the sport but they wouldn't have any entertainment and I think we bring something for every gender," she said.
"The boys love cheerleaders, the mums are proud of their girls and the kids are the biggest thing. They come up to the fence and want photos, and signatures."
"If it was just boys out there doing something, it wouldn't be the same."