Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 18: First on-field female referee after 111 years!

It’s only taken 111 years but tonight a female will be an on-field referee in an NRL premiership match for the first time. Congratulations, Belinda Sharpe, and may there be many more games to follow this one! All I can say is that it’s about bloody time as Belinda has been knocking on this version of the glass door for a few seasons. She’s been an NRL touch judge for about 5 years, ran the line in the 2017 World Cup, and has refereed women’s State of Origin and men’s Queensland Cup but only received a full-time NRL contract in May this year along with Kasey Badger. Good luck tonight, Belinda, and don’t take any crap from anyone!


Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs play tonight with Brisbane having to win to keep any hopes of finals footy alive. The Dogs are gone for the season but have hit a bit of form lately and will make it tough for the Broncos. I think the home team will have sufficient motivation to get the result, but I can’t say that I’m all that confident.


NZ Warriors host Cronulla Sharks in Friday’s evening game. Neither team has been in much form of late but the Sharks will likely fall two games out of the eight if they lose so, like the Broncos, I think that will be enough motivation for them to take this one out. But who knows which Warriors team will show up? In the later game, Penrith Panthers host St George Illawarra Dragons. The Dragons were just awful last week and their season is pretty much gone. I’ll pick the Panthers to consolidate a place in the eight.


On Saturday afternoon, Sydney Roosters will look to get back on the winner’s list against Newcastle Knights. I can’t see the Roosters dropping this one, especially after the way the Knights folded last weekend. Besides, the eastern suburbs lads have too much talent on board for the honest but more modest Knights. Canberra Raiders take on Wests Tigers in the evening game. The Raiders are building nicely while the Tigers are finding the going a bit tough as seen in their drubbing last weekend. Canberra will want to stay in the top four while the Tigers will hope to keep in touch with the eight. Raiders for me, especially at home. In the late game, North Queensland Cowboys host South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Northerners will take confidence out of last weekend’s win over the Roosters while the Rabbits were a bit lucky to fall over the line against Manly. But the Rabbits know how to win so I won’t be surprised to see them take this one out.


On Sunday afternoon, the basket case Gold Coast Titans meet Melbourne Storm and this can only be awful! Storm have been a bit arrogant by resting a few players but have the depth to keep the Titans at the bottom of the ladder. Finally, Manly Sea Eagles meet Parramatta Eels at Brookvale in what, I think, will be one of the best games of the Round. The Eels were hot last weekend while the Sea Eagles were a tad unlucky to go down to South Sydney by a late field goal. The incentive for both teams is that a win will keep them in contention for a top four finish. Should be a ripper.


So we’ll see some more ladder jostling at all levels this weekend. There’s plenty of incentive for everyone but I won’t be surprised if, come Monday, we will be very close to having our final eight just about settled – and we’re still in July!


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE











About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.

Leave a Comment