The Courier-Mail

Belinda sets mark with another first

- TODD BLAYM

QUEENSLAND’S Belinda Sleeman will create further history in Rockhampto­n today when she becomes the first female referee of an Intrust Super Cup game and moves one step closer to taking charge of an NRL game.

Sleeman, who last September became the NRL’s first female touch judge in 100 years, will trade the flag for a whistle when she controls today’s clash between the Capras and Souths Logan Magpies.

“It’s a great opportunit­y to referee an Intrust Super Cup game, and to do it in my hometown of Rockhampto­n will be pretty special,” she said.

“I’ve really enjoyed being involved at the NRL level and have learnt so much from others in the game. This is another opportunit­y to test myself and grow as a referee.”

NRL referees boss Tony Archer praised Sleeman’s progress in the refereeing ranks and said she was making great strides for all female officials in the game.

“It is a great coup for Belinda to be the first woman in charge of the state league game after debuting on the touchline in the NRL in 2014,” Archer said. “Her appointmen­t is a reflection of her good performanc­es this season in both the NYC and Brisbane competitio­n, and she deserves this promotion.”

Meanwhile, Townsville young gun Jahrome Hughes has been ruled out of today’s clash with Sunshine Coast Falcons, to be replaced at fullback by Zac Santo.

The Blackhawks need to keep winning if they are to secure the minor premiershi­p in the club’s rookie season and, perhaps more importantl­y, avoid a major semi-final trip to PNG with the Hunters also guaranteed a top two finish.

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