By ISAAC LIRI
AS part of the Women in League celebrations in the Queensland Rugby League, Port Moresby will for the first time witness a woman refereeing the Hunters-Jets round 22 Q-Cup fixture at the National Football Stadium tomorrow.
Belinda Sleeman will be the first woman referee to take charge of a match in front of rugby league fans in Papua New Guinea.
Remarkable as it sounds, the Queenslander can be seen as an inspiration for the PNG womenfolk who have aspirations to become referees in the future.
The 30-year-old from Rockhampton was also the first female to officiate an NRL match between West Tigers and Cronulla Sharks back in 2014.
In the round 20 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Brisbane Broncos, she celebrated her 50th game as a touch line official.
Sleeman will be assisted by Christopher Anderson and the match will use two referees which will be the first for PNG as well.
QRL normally has selected matches each year that run the two-referee system and having such a game at the National Football Stadium for the first time would be quite interesting for the rugby league-mad nation that is familiar with one referee on the football pitch. Coinciding with the distinctiveness of the Women in League round, the Hunters and Jets players will be wearing pink to show their support to the round that promotes women in rugby league.
PNG fans are also urged to show support to the round as a significant one that supports the empowerment of women through rugby league with Sleeman as an example.
By ISAAC LIRI