Image: @bel_sharpe, Instagram
NRL Australia

First Female NRL Referee

111 Years In The Making

Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) announced Belinda Sharpe as the organisation’s first female referee, 111 years since the code’s establishment. She is a former sub-editor for the Australian Courier Mail newspaper.

“I just loved rugby league growing up and I played touch football, ended up refereeing touch footy and made the transition from there, the game has been my passion and now I’ve turned that into a full-time career.”
– Belinda Sharpe, speaking with NRL.

The 31-year-old debuted her career at Suncorp Stadium for the Broncos V Bulldog confrontation last Thursday night.

“This is a historic moment for the game and I’m so happy for Belinda. She has worked extremely hard, served her apprenticeship, and earned her elevation on merit.”
– Graham Annesley, NRL’s Head of Football.

Image: @bel_sharpe, Instagram

“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.”
– Belinda Sharpe, speaking with NRL.

Belinda has worked in each stage, from a touch judge with the NRL to the Queensland Cup and the Women’s State of Origin, in the past 13 years as a referee. During the Men’s 2017 World Cup she officiated 4 tests, she also took the reigns with international fixtures at the women’s rugby league. However, the arbitrator in the field was never a woman – Belinda defines the position as “high pressure.” However, she insists her gender is meaningless to her achievement.

Banner Image: @bel_sharpe, Instagram

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NRL Australia