‘Trust me, this is not degrading’

 

PUNTERS worried the Brisbane Broncos' cheer squad will go the way of the dumped Formula One grid girls can stress less - our girls are here to stay.

The announcement that Formula One grid girls would be scrapped at races has sparked calls for other sports to examine their involvement of women.

A Broncos spokesman said its cheerleaders were definitely a part of 2018 match days, as they had been for the last 30 years.

Coach and manager of the cheer squad Jools Purchase said cheerleading couldn't be compared to grid girls because of the athletic ability involved in the former.

The Broncos cheerleaders will be back on the field for the NRL season. Picture:  Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
The Broncos cheerleaders will be back on the field for the NRL season. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

"I would love the naysayers to come and watch one of our practices and see the blood, sweat and tears that go into learning a new dance routine every week," she said.

"It (cheerleading) has been cleaned up in terms of the sexualisation of women over the years.

"Most of us are massive feminists and its an empowering feeling to be on the field in front of 50,000 fans dancing your heart out.

"The girls do this because they love it. Trust me, this is not degrading. If it was I wouldn't be involved."

 

Broncos cheerleaders Grace Porter and Sara Jane Aistrop. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning
Broncos cheerleaders Grace Porter and Sara Jane Aistrop. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning

 

Rachel Dowse, 22, was in last year's squad and said she believed it was a minority of people who thought they shouldn't be there.

"At the end of the day, we have trained just as hard as those guys on the field to be there and people don't understand that," she said.

"We just want the crowd to have the best possible time they can, 100 per cent of the time."

Auditions for this year's squad start this weekend and will see around 140 girls vying for just thirteen spots.

The former cheerleader said the women were not chosen based on their looks alone - personality and ability were taken into account, too.

"All of the girls have full-time jobs ... we've had doctors and lawyers in the squad," she said.

Women Sport Australia president Carol Fox welcomed the banning of grid girls.

"WSA encourages other sports to follow suit and to scrap ring girls, walk-on girls and podium girls and to provide women with equal opportunity, equal pay and conditions to participate in and play their sport, not pose for their sport," she said.



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