Saturday, September 22, 2007

Checking in Down Under 

Posted by Sasha at 1:40 PM ET

NBA/NFL style dance teams have caught on in a big way in New Zealand and Australia. It's definitely on my "to do" list to get ahold of some of the folks down there and find out what's doing. In the meantime, I'm always on the lookout for interesting tidbits from the Southern Hemisphere. This one here is all about the cheer squad for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles rugby league club. You can learn a bit more about them on the team website.

Manly cheerleaders enjoy victory
By Heath Aston
The Sydney Daily Telegraph
September 22, 2007

GIVE me a "B" - for backdown. The Manly cheergirls came within a leotard's width of being sidelined from tonight's do-or-die NRL grand final qualifier because of a spat over sponsorship rights.

But last night the NRL caved in and will allow the Jim Beam Sea Birds to bring their crowd-pleasing routines to the Sydney Football Stadium blockbuster.

The NRL requested that the Sea Birds cover up the Jim Beam logo on their uniforms to protect its relationship with Bundaberg Rum, a major sponsor of the league.

The girls refused, saying it would be disrespectful to their sponsor to black out Jim Beam.

Early yesterday they were told they would not be allowed to cheer on Manly if they would not alter their uniforms.

After further negotiations between Manly and the NRL - and inquiries by The Daily Telegraph the NRL backflipped.

Sea Bird Lisa Ochs described the tidal wave of relief that swept through the squad.

"We'd trained so hard for this game and everyone was shattered that we weren't going to perform," she said.

"We add to the atmosphere and the more maroon there tomorrow nigh the better for the players. The Cowboys won't be bringing their cheerleaders so we will have a bit of a home ground advantage."

NRL commercial director Paul Kind downplayed the stoush, saying the matter was "trivial".

"There was an instruction issued by us to request that they cover the Jim Beam logo, which is a very simple request," he said.

"If they had come back and said we're not prepared to perform because of that we would have talked about it amicably and sorted it out, which is what we've done this afternoon.

"Someone has made a massive issue out of nothing."

Mr Kind said the NRL had not discussed the matter with Bundaberg and did not intend to. Bundaberg did not return calls.

"They would expect us to protect their rights but they are a very positive and co-operative sponsor and the last thing that they would want is any issue to be raised over what we think is reasonably trivial," Mr Kind said.

Manly chief executive Grant Mayer it would have been disrespectful to Jim Beam to cover their logo.

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