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Official Belinda Sharpe breaks new ground as first female NRL referee

Discussion in 'Rugby League General' started by Jackson_1994, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Jackson_1994

    Jackson_1994 Forum Regular

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    Belinda Sharpe's dad didn't want her to play rugby league despite his teenage daughter developing a real love for the game, so a family friend stepped in and suggested she become a referee instead.

    She did and on Thursday – or a couple of decades later – Sharpe steps into history becoming the first female referee of a NRL game, when the Broncos host the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium.

    For Queenslander Sharpe, it’s a 'home' game too with her dad and mum, Alistair and Cathy, in the stands to see her out in the middle with senior referee Ben Cummins.

    Of course Sharpe has been a familiar sight on the sidelines of NRL matches since her first NRL touch judge appointment in 2014 when Wests Tigers faced the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval.

    She was a touch judge in four Tests during the 2017 World Cup.

    And crossing the sideline into the field of play is also not unfamiliar to her. Sharpe began refereeing Intrust Super Cup matches in 2015.

    She was in the middle to handle a Broncos v Wynnum-Manly trial game in February this year.

    So after six years of senior football, she's about to break an 111-year hoodoo

    Perhaps Sharpe had an inkling a female appointment was imminent since she and Kasey Badger were upgraded to full-time referee contracts in May this year, along with Todd Smith.

    "At that stage I was just focused on coming down to Sydney and joining the full-time squad and getting my feet into that environment," she told NRL.com.

    "That was the first and foremost thing for me. Certainly it's been a whirlwind couple of months for me, and that appointment was a stepping stone to this Thursday for sure

    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."

    She has never heard any 'What would you know, you're a girl' sledges from the sideline. Even the players don't apologise when they swear in front of her and nor should they

    "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," Sharpe said.

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

    "I've never come across anything like that [sledging]. At the end of the day they just want a referee who is capable of doing their job and it doesn't necessarily matter who they are, or whether they're male or female. They just want you to do a good job.

    "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.

    "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.

    Sharpe knows her gender brings the spotlight onto both her and rugby league.

    She's spoken a couple of times to Eleni Glouftis, who became the first female AFL on-field umpire in May 2017.

    "I've not met her yet but I've spoken to her on the phone. She's made some great strides in AFL and is travelling along really well.

    "Certainly I'll look forward to comparing notes with her in future conversations."

    Sharpe was told the news of her appointment on Monday by NRL referees coach Bernie Sutton.

    She then rang her husband Clayton – also an NRL touch judge – and her parents.

    "They were all really excited and looking forward to coming to the game. They're very happy for me
     
  2. Spoonman84

    Spoonman84 Immortal

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    A rookie ref at Suncorp against us equals a truckload of a penalties for the Broncos.
     
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  3. Scorpio

    Scorpio Kennel Enthusiast Gilded

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    Is she hot?
     
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  4. Grechy21

    Grechy21 Forum Regular

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    Definitely NOT
     
  5. Dingo

    Dingo Go the dogs Gilded

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    I gotta bad feeling about this front bum.
     
  6. Where's Pea?

    Where's Pea? Est. 1979

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    Is that the blondie one?
     
  7. Bob dog

    Bob dog Hectik defence Premium Member

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    How she gunna handle a cranky first grade captain?
    Ben will look after her, will be interesting.
     
  8. belmore_utd

    belmore_utd Pro Golf Hack

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    I have seen her on the touchline refusing to make calls and conversely calling forward passes that weren't.. Should fit right in
     
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  9. maltalian_dog

    maltalian_dog DESeption

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    I'll put my left nut on a early penalty to broncos to "set the tone" for offside
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  10. Scoooby

    Scoooby Immortal Premium Member Gilded

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    Ok lol, more great news :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:
     
  11. Brizdog

    Brizdog Kennel Enthusiast Gilded

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    More masculine than Gerard Sutton
     
  12. finchie

    finchie Immortal

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    Watch her blow the pea out of the whistle
    New referees have no feel for the game and nit pick at everything.
    I’ll put my life on an assortment of pens to conform to her kpi’s
     
  13. Mr. Ditkovich

    Mr. Ditkovich Forum Regular

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    https://coupler.foxsports.com.au/ap...e/news-story/d3f5c620ac952a406be65596207f7758

    ———

    Belinda Sharpe will create history on Thursday night when she becomes the first female to referee an NRL game.

    The 31-year-old will officiate the Round 18 clash between Brisbane and Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium.

    Sleeman, who hails from Brisbane, refereed a Broncos trial match in the pre-season and has been a touch judge in the NRL since 2014 with over 60 first grade games to her name.

    “Graham Annesley was only saying last week his concerns about the lack of depth in the ranks,” The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield told NRL 360 on Fox League.

    “There’s long been a view whether the females like Belinda and Kasey Badger had the speed for NRL.

    “Now they’re full-time officials and they’re doing as much work as the males are, there is a very good opinion there that they’ll go well.”

    ———

    Just our luck. Cummins and this new referee for the Bulldogs and Broncos game. What could possibly go wrong.

    I don’t understand why a game played by 100% males needs a female referee.

    Next they’ll make clubs add female players to their roster, who aren’t allowed to be tackled by men on the field.
     
  14. Moedogg

    Moedogg Immortal

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  15. off-tap-robbie

    off-tap-robbie Forum Regular Gilded x2 Premium Member Gilded

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    Yes

    [​IMG]
     
  16. DublinDogg

    DublinDogg Forum Regular

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    You never know she just might turn out to have more balls than the current refs do.
     
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  17. dogluva

    dogluva Immortal

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    Don't mind the female ref part but do mind the fact she is a Queenslander refereeing a Qld side in Qld. Ben Cummins is another issue.
     
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  18. Mr Invisible

    Mr Invisible On a short hiatus. Staff Member

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    Conflict of interest there.

    I'd have like to see Raelene Castle as the first female ref. A job she could fuck up and escape the sack for once.
     
  19. albatross

    albatross Forum Regular

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    Surely just pocket ref in her first game. Good luck to her - just hope she doesn't let the crowd get in her head.
     
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  20. Kaz

    Kaz Immortal

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    I do.
     
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