Sport

Belinda ready to grace national rugby league stage

IN CONTROL: Belinda Sleeman takes control of the Queensland Rangers vs NSW Country Bulls at Browne Park, Rockhampton, earlier this year.
IN CONTROL: Belinda Sleeman takes control of the Queensland Rangers vs NSW Country Bulls at Browne Park, Rockhampton, earlier this year. Sharyn Oneill Roksranger

BELINDA Sleeman is showing the boys how it's done.

The former Rockhampton referee will make Australian rugby league history this weekend as she becomes the first female to officiate a National Rugby League line.

Sleeman, who currents works with the Ipswich Rugby League Referees Association, was appointed as a touch judge for the round 26 match between Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday at 3pm.

The 28-year-old was initially inspired to become a referee 10 years ago while watching rugby league on the weekends with her dad.

Since approaching the Rockhampton Referee Association shortly after, Sleeman has forged her way onto the national stage.

Sleeman was included in the NRL's Referee Elite Performance Unit Squad in November, and in July, was tipped to become the first female referee.

The humble official had since made the prediction a reality and said the opportunity was incredible.

"The opportunity I've been given through the NRL is really great," Sleeman said.

"It's a pretty awesome job.

"It's just great to have women involved at any level of the game. I think they're pretty used to me now. We seem to fit in pretty well."

 The NRL holds a Women in League round every May

 The Harvey Norman Women in League program celebrates and acknowledges the role women play at all levels and in all areas of the Rugby League family.

 Tegan Rolfe is a Central Queensland Local who has represented Queensland and the Australian Jillaroos in Rugby League.

 Erin Molan has taken on one of the lead roles on the NRL Footy Show.

 Canterbury Bulldogs boss Raelene Castle is the only female CEO in the NRL

 Dominique McGregor plays a key managerial role at the CQ NRL Bid.

Topics:  nrl, rugby league



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