NRL match official Kasey Badger will become the first female referee to take charge of a men’s World Cup match. The Australian will officiate the group D clash between Wales and Tonga in St Helens next Monday (Tuesday AEDT).
Badger, who took charge of the NRLW grand final earlier this year, will also be a touch judge for the Kangaroos’ group B meeting with Scotland in Coventry on Friday (Saturday AEDT).
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Grant Atkins will be the main referee for that game, less than six days after he sent off Lebanon’s Adam Doueihi off for the use of abusive language in their loss to New Zealand.
“I nearly fell off my chair when they announced it,” Badger told the Sydney Morning Herald. “They were talking about the appointments, started talking about creating opportunities and history being made and then they read my name out.
“I was shocked. I didn’t come over here expecting to referee in the men’s tournament, that’s for sure. These type of moments don’t come around often, but they are the reason you stay involved.”
Fellow Australian Belinda Sharpe, who became the first female referee in the NRL in 2019, will run the line in Jamaica’s meeting with the Kiwis in Hull. Another NRL official, Gerard Sutton, will take charge of England’s meeting with France in Bolton.