Cheers girls, and good luck

IT may be a glamorous side to rugby league but for these Panthers Pantherettes cheer girls a first aid kit is one of their most important accessories.

The energetic troupe will travel to Hawaii in November with Cronulla Shark Mermaids to cheerlead for the Southern Cross Spirit Grid Iron team in a college grid iron competition.

With stunt work an integral part of American cheer performances, squad leader Brooke Bowne is preparing to choreograph an extravagant routine unlike any performed on the Centrebet Stadium turf.

"It's pretty exciting bringing all the girls together and some of them haven't done American-style cheerleading so I'll be teaching them from scratch," Ms Bowne said.

"It's very different from the NRL-type cheerleading we usually do.

"If you've seen Bring It On, it's a lot like that."

The more elaborate the stunt, such as being flipped in the air, the more impressive the performance.

Routines are scaled from one to six and Ms Bowne is hoping her squad's final display will, at least, reach level four.

What they unleash for the Panthers is "maybe level one to two".

"It's very dangerous as well and I don't think people realise how difficult it is and how much strength you need.

"I've had a high ankle sprain and my head split open, other girls have had shoulders pop out and there are a lot of split lips, strained muscles and broken fingers."

Ms Bowne, who has been cheerleading for five years, competes at level five and teaches at Westside Performing Arts, Penrith, said the girls' Hawaiian trip would help to up the ante on Panthers routines.

"The best part of cheerleading is wowing people and showing them things they didn't expect girls would be able to do," she said.

With the trip comes a hefty price tag so Ms Bowne and the cheer girls are seeking sponsorship and fund-raising with promotional appearances and a cheerleading camp.

Details: Ms Bowne at brookebowne@hotmail.com.

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