Three cheers for the end of NRL cheerleaders

There should be three cheers from all true rugby league supporters for clubs which have decided to give their cheerleaders the heave ho.

This week two clubs, the Bulldogs, who incidentally have a female chief executive officer, and the Canberra Raiders, stated their intention to play their matches without the help of cheerleaders next year.

Souths of course did it years ago, and guess what? The sky did not fall in as their passionate supporters gave their players all the support they needed from the stands.

I know not everybody inside the rugby league family will agree with cutting ties with cheerleading, but you can’t please everybody, and the quicker the rest of the clubs move to follow the lead of Souths, Bulldogs and the Raiders the better it will be for the game.

Let’s be realistic, and for starters, admit that the whole cheerleaders thing in the NRL was part of the sexist culture inherent in the game.

To see scantily dressed young women prancing about as the players entered the field at the start of the game was just not a good look for a game that had so many off-field incidents of players mistreating women.

And it still has, if the Blake Ferguson case is anything to go by.

I have two sons, both married with children, and I can see through them how men have changed in their attitudes to women. Very much different from men in my generation of 50 and over and I am very proud that they are better than me in the way they treat their women.

But I doubt if that change in the community has seeped into the consciousness of most of the young men who play rugby league.

Change is happening, to be fair, but it’s so slow glaciers go faster.

Perceptions are of course very important and that is why cutting ties with cheerleaders is such a positive act.

In its own, not having cheerleaders won’t change players’ habits overnight, but it will be a strong signal that, boys, the times they are changing, thank you Bob Dylan.

As for the young women themselves, one can understand that they will be disappointed on hearing the news. But if a dancing career is what they’re after, there’s plenty of other avenues for them to go down in pursuit of their dreams.

One other thing: I love America and its people, but there are things they do which I think are pretty stupid.But that doesn’t annoy me; after all it’s none of my business what the Americans do in their own country.

But when we imitate them, as we clearly have with this cheerleading caper over many years, that I think is wrong.

 Now I just can’t wait for my team, the Wests Tigers, to jump on the bandwagon.

     I am sure it’s only a matter of time before the mighty Tigers and the other 12 NRL clubs follow suit.

And they can do so knowing that they have the support of all rugby league true believers.

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