Queensland Rugby League chief executive officer Ben Ikin has congratulated Billy Slater and Belinda Sharpe on their respective honours at last night’s Queensland Sport Awards.
Queensland Maroons head coach Slater was announced as the Sport Coach of the Year, while Rockhampton product Sharpe was named the Sport Officiator of the Year following another stellar year in the NRL ranks.
For Slater, it was fitting recognition after guiding the Maroons to back-to-back State of Origin series wins.
“From the start of his time coaching the Maroons, Billy has made it his mission to build a winning team and ensure the entire state of Queensland felt part of the journey,” Ikin said.
“This award reflects Billy’s continued commitment to excellence and the outstanding efforts of our Maroons over the past two years.”
Made for Queenslanders
Slater edged out a star-studded field of nominees that also included Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons head coach Tahnee Norris, whose outstanding efforts in charge of the women’s program saw the Maroons regain the Origin shield.
Sharpe also had strong competition for the Sport Officiator the Year award, but she got the nod over a talented field that included officiators from AFL, surf lifesaving, taekwondo and hockey.
Among her many achievements in 2023, Sharpe refereed Game II of the women’s State of Origin series and performed exceptionally in the NRL Premiership match between the Manly Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers.
Sharpe was also appointed to the NRLW grand final between the Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans.
“Belinda is not only a very competent and capable match official, but she’s a terrific role model for the game who has worked hard and chased her dreams,” Ikin said.
“Her journey started in community competitions in Rockhampton and Ipswich, a grounding that equipped her the skills and confidence to step up into QRL statewide competitions and the NRL.
“It’s a path walked by players, coaches and administrators all over Queensland, and one that everyone involved in the QRL will fight to preserve and enhance.”
Last night’s Queensland Sport Awards at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre also marked a special moment for Queensland league icon John Lang, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame following a decorated career as a player and coach.