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Tamarua for NRL All Stars clash

Thursday 9 February 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Tamarua for NRL All Stars clash
Referee Rochelle Tamarua at Rugby League World Cup in 2022. RLWC/23020820

Cook Islander Rochelle Tamarua will officiate the NRL All Stars women’s clash between Maori Women’s and Indigenous Women’s at Rotorua International Stadium in New Zealand this afternoon.

The Auckland-based referee who had the opportunity to referee for the NRLW competition, and the Rugby League World Cup last year will start the 2023 season with the NRL All Stars clash.

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said he was not surprised with Tamarua’s selection.

“Not surprised she’s being picked to ref the game as she is good and passionate about what she does. She was hoping to come over for the start of the league season (in the Cook Islands), but that is now on hold with the latest appointment,” Carlson said.

“We are certainly proud of her to reach that level of the game. We caught up with her at the World Cup game versus Wales and no doubt her participation in the World Cup has impressed the NRL.”

2022 proved an enormous year for Tamarua, who is also the Auckland Rugby League referee’s development officer.

She has been involved with rugby league as a referee since 2012 taking progressive strides in 2022, leading to her travelling around the world.

In an interview with in December last year, Tamarua said: “It might sound biased, but my favourite moments this year (2022) were my debut games. “Being the touch judge for Wales vs Cook Islands was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a referee and being from the Cook Islands made the moment even more special. Obviously I have to maintain a high level of professionalism as a World Cup Official, but it was a very proud moment for not only myself, but for our small Pacific nation.

“Earlier in the year refereeing the Titans vs Knights game for the NRLW was another highlight. It was my debut refereeing in the NRLW. Such a good game to be a part of, free flowing and fast. I’m so excited to hopefully get more games in the 2023 season as competition continues to expand.”

Going over to England for the World Cup allowed Tamarua to be amongst the world’s top professional referees. This was a great experience for her to see how they physically and mentally prepare for their roles, as she continues to solidify herself at the top.

“They’re professional athletes. Day in, day out they take their responsibility of being a referee seriously. To be amongst that environment is such an honour. It’s something I'm definitely taking with an open mind, so I can learn as much as I can, so that I'm able to come home with everything I’ve learnt to run workshops that will give our young New Zealand referees a pathway.”

Being a part of the growing NRLW competition has been a key part of Tamarua’s development

“It’s been awesome to see the Women’s competition grow so quickly in Auckland. Big shout out to Mary Passi for growing these Pathways for our girls. The growth the game is having in both the professional and local game is very exciting. The NRLW will have 10 teams next season and will keep growing. It will open up many pathways for our girls back in New Zealand and hopefully provide opportunities for the girls to live out their dreams of being a professional athlete.”

After her breakout season entering the professional refereeing scene, Tamarua has big goals for the 2023 season.

“The goal for next season is to take my refereeing even further. I'd love to start consistently refereeing games for the NRLW and a lot of training so I can continue to develop myself and my role here in Auckland. I’m really excited to get stuck in.”