Female ref for league finale

Thursday May 25, 2017 Written by Published in League
Referee Rochelle Tamarua will offi ciate this Saturday’s league grand final. 17052430a Referee Rochelle Tamarua will offi ciate this Saturday’s league grand final. 17052430a

New Zealand-based referee Rochelle Tamarua will officiate the domestic rugby league premier final between defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels and Titikaveka Bulldogs this weekend.


Tamarua, who is of Cook Islands descent, resides in Auckland and is part of Auckland Rugby League Referees.

The 22-year-old has been refereeing since she was 10 years old, initially starting with touch rugby before joining rugby league.

Tamarua has a glamorous refereeing career with a stint at the 2015 Auckland NRL Nines and other major events.

She also officiated at the 2016 and 2017 Cook Islands Rugby League Nines tournament.

Cook Islands Rugby League Association responded to calls from club officials and fans who asked for an overseas-based referee for the premier showdown.

Association competition co-ordinator Taua Benioni said this would be a historic moment for Cook Islands rugby league.

“As far as I know, this is a first timer for the CIRLA and the CIRL Referees Association having a young Cook Islands woman in Rochelle Tamarua officiating the men’s rugby league grand final,” Benioni said.

“It is not normal practice for this to happen and our local CIRL Referees Association and I appreciate the concerns of others but sometimes in the long run it pays to make such decision moving forward.”

Eels coach Albert Nicholas was not happy after a decision deemed controversial in the final playoffs last week against Tupapa Panthers almost cost his team a place in the final.

Bulldogs coach Meti Noovao also made requests for top quality officials for the grand final on Saturday at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.

Benioni said Tamarua was a top referee and would not let the teams down in the ultimate battle.

“Rochelle comes with lot of experience and has inspired all our referees and supporters here during our Bluesky Nines in 2016 and early this year,” he said.

“Being the role model she is, Rochelle shows off her position by being the woman in the middle with experience, knowledge of the game and delivering the decision to the players with authority. She officiates at Fox and Sharman Cup level and also assist with the NRL U20s.”

Benioni said the Auckland Rugby League Referees president and old league colleague Dave Pakieto called him, giving their clearance and permission for Tamarua to officiate in the grand finale.

Meanwhile the organisers yesterday were yet to finalise the draws which is expected to be released tomorrow.

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