RUGBY LEAGUE is set to appoint it’s first female match official for the World Cup after Belinda Sleeman was included in the 26-strong list of officials.
Sleeman was the first women to officiate in a Test match between Fiji and Tonga as a touch judge.
And she made history along with Kasey Badger as the first female officials appointed to a rugby league finals match between Manly and Penrith.
James Child, who refereed his first Super League Grand Final on Saturday, will also be officiating at the World Cup, along with video referee Phil Bentham and touch judges Mark Craven and Chris Kendall.
Chosen by head of officiating Tony Archer and the Rugby Football League’s Steve Ganson, the squad is drawn entirely from the NRL and Super League for the first time.
The RFL representatives also include Ben Thaler, Robert Hicks, Scott Mikalauskas and Liam Moore, as well as former Super League officials Tim Roby and Ashley Klein, who now referee in the NRL.
The officials will be based in Brisbane throughout the tournament, which begins in Melbourne on October 27 when Australia play England.
And they will have their own performance manager, a physiotherapist, a logistics and operations manager and three coaches – Ganson, Australia’s former Super League referee Russell Smith and New Zealand’s Luke Watts.
Archer said: “This is an historical tournament in which all match officials qualified by officiating in either the NRL or Super League competitions.
“We have the Grand Final officials from each competition and there is a wealth of international and representative depth in the squad.”
Zak Hardaker banned after failing drugs test and OUT of England’s World Cup squad
Leeds’ Stevie Ward shoulders a lot after defying injury to make Grand Final
Rugby League ace poses in dressing room with a trophy — and inadvertently sparks a drugs riddle
Cocaine is a massive problem throughout rugby league, says legend Garry Schofield
Sam Tomkins admits he is a changed man as Wigan head back to the Challenge Cup final
Leeds boss Brian McDermott reveals the Marine principles that drive him on
ZAK TO THE FUTURE
Castleford’s Zak Hardaker looks to the good times after seeing the bad
Zak Hardaker axed by Castleford for the Grand Final
HALL OR NOTHING (ON)
Leeds Rhinos players get cheeky before Grand Final against Castleford
Archer, who said performances during the tournament would determine the appointment for the final in Brisbane on December 2, confirmed that international rules would be used.
That means one referee, as opposed to two in the NRL, and an in-goal video referral system to replace the Australian bunker.
There will also be no shot clock for scrums and goal-line drop-outs but there will be a seventh tackle from the 20-metre re-start if the ball is kicked dead and a tap re-start from a 40-20 kick.
Golden point will only be used in finals matches.
Breast of both worlds
Ricky Hatton’s breakfast snap stuns fans… but not because of food
Dana White reveals Conor McGregor will fight Tony Ferguson instead of Nate Diaz
MAUR OF IT
Mauro Icardi’s stunning wife Wanda sets pulses racing as she poses topless
Benjamin Mendy checks in to Barcelona hospital to begin lengthy rehab
When is Wales vs Ireland and what TV channel is it on?
Man City ‘ready stunning £357m January bid for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi’
Fill your boots
Winks wins over England fans with performance in old-school black boots
Man United star Romelu Lukaku gives injury update while on Belgium duty
Kante, Coutinho, Suarez on Ballon d’Or shortlist as first TEN names revealed