Michael Wise will make history on Wednesday night when he becomes the first Queensland-based match official to be involved in a State of Origin match since Eddie Ward in 1997.
Ward – who now heads the QRL Referees’ High Performance Unit – refereed in Game III that year.
Queenslander Brett Suttor has officiated in State of Origin matches in more recent times as a touch judge but he was based in Sydney.
Wise – who made his NRL touch judge debut in 2010 – will run the line in this Wednesday night’s match.
Originally from Northern Rivers; the Brisbane Referees Association member is one of the High Performance Unit’s most experienced match officials and he has run the line in 135 NRL games.
The Sunshine Coast’s Peter Gough earned a fulltime NRL referee contract in 2015 and has been appointed to referee the under-20s State of Origin curtain-raiser.
A rising star in the match official ranks, Gough has earned three assistant (pocket) referee appointments in the 2016 season so far.
He will be joined by Nick Morel who was appointed as a touch judge for the game. Morel is part of the NRL’s Emerging Referees squad and trains with the High Performance Unit each Monday at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre.
This is his third appointment in a row to this game, having been appointed as a touch judge in the 2014 and 2015 games.
Ref boss visits
NRL Referees boss Tony Archer was a Rugby League Central Queensland last night to address the QRL Referees High Performance Unit and he congratulated Wise on his appointment to the State of Origin match (see photo above).
The referees’ weekly appointments can be found under Get Involved on the QRL website.
The under-20s match will kick off at 5.30pm next Wednesday, and will be followed by the main State of Origin match.