The match officials who will take charge of games at this year’s World Cup have been revealed.
Australian official Gerard Sutton is one of the names included, with the vastly experienced Australian having officiated the 2017 Men’s final between Australia and England.
Sutton has also refereed seven NRL Grand Finals, the 2014 World Club Challenge and matches in eight State of Origin series.
He will be joined by England’s Jack Smith, a former Royal Marine who was shot by a sniper by the Taliban in 2011 and who has been touch judge in the Four Nations series in 2016 and for the 2017, 2020 and 2021 Challenge Cup Finals as well as the Super League Grand Final in 2021.
Also on the list is Liam Moore, who has officiated at the last two Super League Grand Finals as well as the Challenge Cup Finals in 2020 and 2021.
Ashley Klein, who was in charge of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Final when New Zealand upset Australia to claim their first title, will be participating in his fourth World Cup.
There are also three female officials on the list with Kasey Badger, Belinda Sharpe and Rochelle Tamura set to officiate across the men’s and women’s tournament fixtures.
The Wheelchair Tournament, which is being run alongside the men’s and women’s competitions for the first time in the sport’s history, will have eight match officials with Kim Abel, Laurent Abrial, Matthew Ball, David Butler, Ollie Cruickshank, Steven Hewson, Grant Jackson and David Roig officiating the matches at English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and the Copper Box Arena in London, before the final heads to Manchester Central on 18 November.
All officials will come into camp before matches for meeting, training and previews to ensure consistency in decision-making and approach, with Men’s & Women’s officials hosted in Manchester and those covering Wheelchair fixtures hosted in Sheffield.
Rugby League World Cup 2021 Tournament Director, Dean Hardman, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to secure such a talented roster of match officials for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
“Our ambition in all areas is to provide players and spectators with a world class environment with which to enjoy what we hope will be the biggest, best and most inclusive World Cup in the sport’s 127-year history.
“We consider our match officials to be the 33rd team of the tournament and I can’t wait to work with them to deliver high standards across all 61 fixtures.”
Steve Ganson, Head of Match Officials at the RFL and RLWC2021’s Match Officials Manager said: “With the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments running together simultaneously for the very first time it was vital that we assembled the best possible team of officials for all three tournaments.
“This is a vastly experienced group with a huge wealth of domestic and international experience that will play their part in ensuring Rugby League World Cup 2021 is officiated to the best standard possible.”
Men’s and women’s tournament officials: Atkins, Grant (NRL); Badger, Kasey (NRL); Bowmer, Dean (RFL); Casty, Ben (FFRXIII); Child, James (RFL); Furner, Darian (NRL); Gee, Adam (NRL); Grant, Tom (RFL); Griffiths, Marcus (RFL); Hicks, Robert (RFL); Horton, Neil (RFL); Kendall, Chris (RFL); Klein, Ashley (NRL); Moore, Aaron (RFL); Moore, Liam (RFL); Parkinson, Paki (NZRL); Poumes, Geoffrey (FFRXIII); Raymond, Wyatt (NRL); Rush, Liam (RFL); Sharpe, Belinda (NRL); Smaill, Michael (RFL); Smith, Jack (RFL); Smith, Todd (NRL); Sutton, Gerard (NRL); Tamarua, Rochelle (NZRL); Thaler, Ben (RFL); Turley, Warren (RFL); Vella, James (RFL)
Wheelchair tournament officials: Abel, Kim (WALES); Abrial, Laurent (FFRXIII); Ball, Matthew (ENGLAND); Butler, David (ENGLAND); Cruickshank, Ollie (SCOTLAND); Hewson, Steven (AUSTRALIA); Jackson, Grant (WALES); Roig, David (FFRXIII)