Belinda Sharpe

In the 112th year of the premier rugby league competition in Australian sports (previously only Sydney based), we will finally see a female officiate a game for premiership points.

Belinda Sharpe will make history and become the first woman to become a ref in the NRL.

She will be at the helm when the Broncos host the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium this Thursday night under the lights. The Queensland local will be supported by her family who will be in the stands as well as plenty around the country reading the breaking news this morning.

Sharpe has experience in NRL circles obviously officiating as a touch judge for the NRL since 2014 as well as being on-field for Intrust Super Cup matches and February's trial game with the Broncos.

Sharpe was upgraded to a full-time contract in May and her inaugural appointment has been looming but the NRL has ensured the long-standing male tradition be broken in 2019.

"I just loved rugby league growing up and I played touch football, ended up refereeing touch footy and made the transition from there." Sharpe toldĀ

"The game has been my passion and now I've turned that into a full-time career.

"We're all certainly in a high-pressure environment anyway as referees so I don't see any difference between any of us. We just go out on the field to do a job to the best of our ability.

"We can't focus on anything externally and I won't be. My gender is irrelevant in that respect."

Sharpe also made it clear she hadn't been subject to any sexiest sledging and believes the public respect you based off the job you do, and not your gender.

"That hasn't changed over the years in any grade I've been involved in. Once you demonstrate you're competent in that role, that's all that matters," she said.

"The players are used to seeing me out there since I've been doing it for a few years now so they don't treat me any differently."

Of course naturally being the first female to officiate a premiership game she will be under the microscope about her performance by her players, peers and the unforgiving public.

But Sharpe is unfazed by this and is looking forward to suiting up on the big stage for the very first time.


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