Belinda Sharpe will become the first female referee in Australia’s National Rugby League on Thursday.

The former newspaper sub-editor, 31, will be in charge of the game between Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs (10:50 BST).

Sharpe has been a part-time touch judge in the NRL since 2014 and joined the officials’ full-time squad in April.

“If my opportunity to get my debut shows other women it’s possible, then that’s a good thing,” she said.

“The opportunities are there for females and for any referee to make it to this level. There are a number of female referees right across the country now, particularly at the grassroots level, which is fantastic to see.”

Last year , the NRL launched an elite women’s league featuring four teams.