Cheergirls under fire | March 25, 2008 http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sport/nrl/story/0,26799,23427996-5006066,00.html THE rugby league tradition of cheerleading has come under attack from a nasty TXT message campaign which has labelled cheergirls from one NRL club "anorexic blonde bimbos." Cheerleaders from the North Queensland Cowboys, nicknamed the "Hot Squad" have been shocked to learn of the hateful campaign against them. Hot Squad member Sheree Roseler, who is also a schoolteacher, told The Townsville Bulletin today she didn't understand the motives behind the people who made the false and uneducated claims. "We're all at the game for the same reason, whether we're sitting on the sideline or in the crowd," Mrs Roseler said. "We're there to support the boys and that's the main thing because in the end that's what we're there for." Is cheerleading sexist? Join the blog and have your say on whether blokes should be part of the mix. Mrs Roseler said she had encountered negative comments in the past but, like the other girls, she chose to ignore them. "I've heard a lot of criticism but I try not to listen or take it to heart, " she said. Hot Squad coach Karin Craig said cheerleading provided the perfect opportunity for the girls to combine fitness and supporting their favourite team. She rebutted the "bimbo" allegation. "Over the past five years I've tried to increase the average age of the cheerleaders and so now we've got a wide variety of girls involved, " she said. "A lot are still studying full-time at uni doing anything from medicine to pharmacy or physio and we've also got successful hairdressers, beauticians, business owners and sales reps. "All the girls have a love of dance and the majority of them also have a passionate following of football so by combining the two they get the best seats in the house and a good workout," Ms Craig said. "I find people who choose to criticise others publicly tend to have a lack of confidence in themselves so I'd ask them to think about why they think it's okay to put down people they don't know. For every person there is out there that's critical I'll have four or five people come up to me and say they can't wait to see the new routines and think cheerleaders are a brilliant part of game days at the stadium." The text messages were sent to the Townsville Bulletin newspaper. All NRL clubs except South Sydney have cheerleading teams. Souths opted last year to sack their cheerleaders and replace them with a drumming troupe. Ms Craig said she didn't believe the girls joined the Hot Squad to pursue romantic relationships with any of the players. "Some people seem to think the girls just want to get close to the players but in reality many are either married or in long-term relationships so it's not a motivation at all. Mrs Roseler said cheerleading gave her the perfect opportunity to combine her love of rugby league with dancing. "When I came to Townsville to study at uni a few years ago I had trouble finding somewhere to dance and I'm a huge rugby league fan so I get to dance and get front row seats to all the action. "I've also been given incredible opportunities through cheerleading. I've been to finals matches down south, I went to America for a training holiday and even got to participate in the Sydney 2000 Olympics." The mother of one of her pupils today felt compelled to defend Mrs Roseler. "I was disgusted and upset to think people could stereotype them as much as they did," Sonya Beil said. "Mrs Roseler is a great model and someone Tara really looks up to so I think these people should really get to know someone before they start criticising them." Tara Curtis, 8, said she hoped the people who sent the messages thought about their actions and apologised. "Mrs Roseler is very intelligent and it makes me upset that people have said mean stuff about her," Tara said. "If I was them I'd have a think about it and say sorry. "I think the cheerleaders are cool and I wish I could dance as good as them."