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First female referee in 111 years in National Rugby League

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Belinda Sharpe will become the first female referee in the 111-year history of professional rugby league in Australia when she officiates in an NRL match on Thursday.

The National Rugby League appointed Sharpe and Ben Cummins as the on-field referees for the match in Brisbane between the Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs.

The 31-year-old Sharpe became an NRL touch judge in 2014 and officiated in that capacity in four test matches at the 2017 World Cup. She began refereeing Queensland Cup state matches in 2015 and handled a Broncos' trial match in February. She was promoted to a full-time referee contract in May.