NRL rivals in bizarre bust-up over cheerleaders

Two NRL clubs have been caught in a fiery war of words revolving around one of the team's cheerleading squads.

Manly were furious after being eliminated by Penrith on Saturday, largely because of a number of controversial refereeing decisions.

However their anger has now turned towards the Panthers cheerleaders, with Manly boss Scott Penn unhappy with the 'Pantherettes'.

The Pantherettes on Saturday. Image: Getty

The Sea Eagles were forced to take their home elimination final away from their suburban ground Lottoland to Allianz Stadium, in an attempt to get a larger crowd for the fixture.

And following their loss, Penn has hit out at the NRL over the decision to play the game at Allianz.

"A home final has to be a home final for the home team," Penn said.

"At Allianz, it is not our home ground. It is not acceptable for us to be playing at a game which is not our home ground.

“We had 15,000 there. We could have had 20,000 at Lottoland.”

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Penn also had an issue with Penrith having their cheerleaders at the ground for their away game.

“We had a dominant crowd but why were the Panthers cheerleaders there if it’s our home final?” he said.

Image: Pantherettes Facebook

Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher has since defended the Pantherettes.

"He’s drawing a long bow if he’s complaining about our cheerleaders,’' Fletcher said.

“As for playing at Allianz Stadium, we finished in front of Canterbury last year and had to play them there in week one, not Pepper Stadium.

“It’s not like these rules happened overnight.

“It’s just his club haven’t played finals football in that long. His team went off a week early.’’

Manly's cheerleaders. Image: Getty

One of the Pantherettes, Laura Harrison, says they have performed at several finals in recent years and that cheerleaders from both clubs were allowed to participate.

“The NRL run it, they invited us, and we were more than happy to do it,’’ Harrison said.

“We’ve been involved in finals games over the years. Last year (week one) was in Sydney and we were there and the Bulldogs cheer squad was there.’’

Respected commentator Andrew Voss heard of the uproar and took to Twitter to blast the 'whingeing'.