NRL promote two women to full-time referee ranks

Both Kasey Badger and Belinda Sleeman have taken a major step forward in their dream to be the first women to referee in the NRL after being promoted to the full-time referee ranks. The duo are joined by Todd Smith in being promoted.

Badger works as a referee’s education officer already and is now ready to shift her focus to her personal goals.

“I was a bit shocked when I was told but I am over the moon. Now it’s a great way to still get those training sessions in but not have to get up at five in the morning or avoiding getting home at nine at night,” Badger said.

“It allows to you to recover better, refuel and manage injury concerns with more access to our strength and conditioning staff and physiotherapists.

“It means you can be more professional and that’s the benefits of being at the elite level.”

Meanwhile, Sleeman will relocate to Sydney from her native Queensland to begin training in the next few weeks.

“I come to Sydney most weeks anyway so it will be a bit of a change but I’m looking forward to it,” Sleeman said.

“I have a good understanding of the level of the game but to be in this environment moving forward training full-time is certainly going to help us refereeing both on and off the field.

“This is what we’re aiming for, I certainly didn’t hesitate to accept the role.”