With the first ever female rugby league referee taking the field this weekend, players are excited but anxious. Excited that a female is getting a run at what is traditionally a male game, but anxious that they’ll get in trouble and have no clue why.
Belinda Sharpe will become the first female to referee the Broncos vs Bulldogs clash on Thursday night which has players going into panic mode as they try and remember what they have been taught the last few years by the NRL about treating women with respect.
One of the first sticking points how to refer to Belinda when addressing her on the field during the game. Players normally refer to the refs as ‘Sir.’ They have been trained since school to address the refs as ‘Sir’ and it will be a hard habit to break.
“Do we call her ma’am? Do we call her Miss? Ms? Mrs?” said one confused player.
“Just don’t call her sugartits,” said Todd Greenturd.
With a sizeable percentage of NRL stars carrying police records for domestic violence or spousal abuse, the NRL will be hoping that the players man up and give her the respect she has earned. It is interesting though that as her first assignment she will be reffing two teams with historically questionable incidents around dealings with their female fans.
In Belindas favour though is the fact that the current refereeing standard is at an all-time low. So the worst she can do is be on par with the current batch of referees.