NO stranger to blazing a trail in her chosen field Belinda Sleeman is again making history in the rugby league world.
Sleeman has been appointed as a touch judge in the Canberra Raiders v Bulldogs qualifying final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday making her the first female to officiate in a National Youth Competition (Holden Cup) finals game.
Obviously I'm very excited to be running on Sunday, Sleeman said.
It's a fantastic weekend not only for me, but also for the other three Queensland Referees' Academy members involved in the finals as well, with Bucky (Chris Butler) and Goughy (Peter Gough) refereeing in the NYC and Wiz (Michael Wise) running the lines for the NRL.
Sleeman, who has been refereeing in Queensland for almost a decade; was the first female to make the Queensland Rugby Leagues Referees Academy Squad and also previously worked at the QRL as Targeted Programs Co-Coordinator, running two successful Queensland Womens State Championships (the first time under the QRL banner).
Her ongoing success is not only an indication of the pathways being provided to women in the game, but also being offered to referees from Queensland.
The opportunities that Queensland match officials have had this year really shows how the partnership between the QRL and NRL referees has strengthened, Sleeman said.
(We have also had) NYC referees and touch judges travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and New Zealand for games this year, while in previous we mainly did Queensland based-games, so now we have more exposure.
QRL Referees High Performance Coordinator John Topp said Sleemans accomplishments were good reward for her hard work.
She wouldnt want us mentioning this, but last weekend she refereed the Ipswich reserve grade grand final back-to-back this year and last year, which was a first, he said.
She is also a regular in first grade in Ipswich, which is a strong rugby league competition; so that is a great achievement for her as well.
To view a full list of this weekends referee appointments click here: Referee Appointments September 13-15