Belinda Sharpe makes history as first-ever female NRL referee
Queenslander Belinda Sharpe will become the first-ever female to referee an NRL game this week.
She’ll take charge of Brisbane’s clash with Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
“It’s been a little while coming obviously but (it’s) something I’ve been working towards for a long time,” she told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“I’ve been touch judging in the NRL since 2014 so I guess I’ve certainly come to learn what that grade is like.”
Sharpe says she hopes to be the first of many women to take centre stage on game day.
“We’ve actually seen a growth of young females becoming involved as referees in the game at the grassroots level, so I think that’s a really positive thing.”
Her breakthrough appointment comes just days after head of referees Graham Annesley lamented the lack of refereeing depth in the competition.
Sharpe she had consulted Eleni Gloutfsis, the first-ever AFL umpire, ahead of her debut on Thursday night.
“Obviously we have a pretty similar story and similar careers in some regards, so I think it’s great to be able to share those experiences with people in other sports”