NRL grand final referee Matt Cecchin has been appointed to control Friday night’s opening Rugby League World Cup 2017 match between Australia and England in Melbourne.

Cecchin will work with touch judges Chris Butler, who was a touch judge at the NRL grand final, and Chris Kendall, who was a touch judge in this year's Super League grand final and Challenge Cup final.

Super League grand final referee James Child will be in charge of the opening match in New Zealand between the Kiwis and Samoa on Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium.

Another significant appointment will see Belinda Sleeman become the first female to officiate at a Rugby League World Cup after being appointed as a touch judge for the game in Townsville on Saturday between Fiji and USA.

There will be some key differences during the World Cup to the way NRL matches are officiated, with RLWC2017 games controlled by one referee – not two – and an in-goal video referral system replacing the Bunker for checking contentious decisions.

More RLWC2017 news > Round 1 Team Lists

There will also be no shot clock for scrums and goal lines drop outs but common rules used in Super League and the NRL will be in operation, including 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.

 RLWC2017 Match Officials                                        

GAME:  Australia v England         
DATE: Friday October 27, 2017
VENUE: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium              
KICK OFF: 8pm Local
REFEREE:  Matt Cecchin
VIDEO REFEREE: Ben Thaler
TOUCH JUDGES: Chris Butler, Chris Kendall          

GAME:  PNG v Wales     
DATE: Saturday, October 28, 2017
VENUE: National Football Stadium           
KICK OFF: 3pm Local
REFEREE: Ben Cummins
VIDEO REFEREE: Jared Maxwell
TOUCH JUDGES: Dave Munro, Scott Mikalauskas

GAME:  New Zealand v Samoa   
DATE: Saturday, October 29, 2017
VENUE: Mt Smart Stadium          
KICK OFF: 8.15pm Local
REFEREE: James Child    
VIDEO REFEREE: Bernard Sutton
TOUCH JUDGES: Michael Wise, Tim Roby              

GAME:  Fiji v USA            
DATE: Saturday, October 28, 2017
VENUE: Townsville Stadium        
KICK OFF: 7.45pm Local
REFEREE: Henry Perenara            
VIDEO REFEREE: Steve Chiddy
TOUCH JUDGES: Jon Stone, Belinda Sleeman      

GAME:  Ireland v Italy    
DATE: Sunday, October 29, 2017
VENUE: Barlow Park Cairns         
KICK OFF: 2pm Local
REFEREE: Grant Atkins  
VIDEO REFEREE: Steve Chiddy
TOUCH JUDGES: Liam Moore, Robert Hicks          

GAME:  Scotland v Tonga             
DATE: Sunday, October 29, 2017
VENUE: Barlow Park Cairns         
KICK OFF: 4.15pm Local
REFEREE: Phil Bentham
VIDEO REFEREE: Ashley Klein
TOUCH JUDGES: Chris McMillan, Mark Craven    

GAME:  France v Lebanon            
DATE: Sunday, October 29, 2017
VENUE: Canberra Stadium           
KICK OFF: 4.05pm Local
REFEREE: Gerard Sutton
VIDEO REFEREE: Ben Thaler
TOUCH JUDGES: Chris Butler, Chris Kendall