Bennison to make Rugby League history this weekend

Date published: Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rugby League match Official Sarah Bennison will make history on Saturday as the first female to referee a full men’s International fixture when she takes charge of Norway versus Germany in the Rugby League European Federation Shield in Lillestrom.
It will be the second milestone within the space of a week for the 22-year-old who has just graduated from Leeds Met University with a Sports Development degree, after she became the first female to referee a fixture in the professional game when she took charge of the Co-operative Championship One fixture between Workington Town and Swinton Lions last Sunday.
“I refereed the second half of Workington versus Swinton which was a game between the top teams in Championship One,” said Bennison. “It was a big step up because I’d never refereed at that level before but it was a great experience.
“I’ve become the first female to referee a first team game and it was a big step and it’s a big achievement. I must admit all the players and all the coaches were very supportive and they all praised me after the game so that was good and a nice feeling to have. I was thrown in the deep end a bit but I’ve been told it was a good performance.
“Now the game between Norway and Germany in the RLEF Shield will make me the first female to referee a full men’s International game. I’m a bit nervous but I’m excited about the game and hopefully everything will fall into place.
“I’ve been a Rugby League referee for five years now but I’ve watched the sport for many years. I have never played the game so I think I like refereeing because it gives me a way of getting involved with the game.”