Smithtown’s Jake Sutherland will cap off the most successful year of his life with another prestigious accomplishment.
A month after refereeing on rugby league’s biggest day, Sutherland was notified he will be in charge of Women’s Rugby League World Cup matches during the group stage.
Sutherland views the appointment as the next stepping stone to achieving his dream of refereeing at an NRL level and he has his sights set on earning selection to referee the women’s final.
“It’s a good opportunity for exposure to the best referee coaches and I will be able to learn from them,” Sutherland told the Argus.
“Hopefully I can earn the honour of refereeing in front of thousands of people for the final.”
The women’s decider will be held as the curtain raiser for the men’s final at Suncorp Stadium on December 2 and a capacity crowd is expected.
Sutherland’s year started perfectly as he was selected to referee U20s matches and despite an injury hampering him throughout the middle of the season, he was picked to touch judge during the finals series.
The Smithtown junior referee then earned his most distinguished role as the touch judge for the U20s decider between the Manly Sea Eagles and Parramatta Eels on NRL grand final day.
Sutherland said the experience will be hard to top but is excited to be a part of the tournament.
“Being involved in the grand final day was pretty special, it’s what you work your backside off for all year,” Sutherland said.
“It was mind blowing running out onto the field, there was a fair crowd for the U20s final and it was the biggest I have refereed in front of and it was pretty special.
“But the World Cup will be different and I will be out there for the national anthems, war dances and it will be great to see the cultures up close.”
Sutherland expressed gratitude towards the community of his hometown and is hopeful his success can be used as encouragement for others to pursue their aspirations.
“The response and support I got from people back home in the Macleay after being appointed as a referee for the grand final was overwhelming and it made me proud of where I come from,” Sutherland said.
“Hopefully by achieving these milestones, I can inspire the young athletes up home in the Macleay to chase their dreams in which ever sport they choose.
“The Macleay is full of talent that has the ability to go all the way.”
Sutherland will referee the opening game of the Women’s World Cup at 1.45pm and the match will be televised on 7mate.