The NRL may have just announced its first female referee, but Group 16 beat it to the punch last weekend.
Trudi Badullovich, former Bega Chicks captain turned league-tag referee, on Saturday became the first female to officiate a senior men's game in Group 16 history.
Badullovich was the on-field referee for the Narooma v Cooma under 18s clash at Narooma.
She had actually been slated to make her senior grades debut a couple of weeks ago, but one of the teams forfeited.
She admitted to a few nerves ahead of the game, not least of which because of who she would have to keep in line.
However, two experienced first grade referees running the boundaries and linked through earpieces and microphones alleviated that.
"We all know 18-year-olds are full of testosterone and it can get heated when they play," Badullovich said.
"I went in expecting to cop mouthfuls from the boys, but knowing I had the guys in my ear was comforting.
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"It got a bit hot at one point, but they did really well. They were very respectful and I thanked them after the game for their patience given it was my first game.
"Everyone gets frustrated with the game and look for someone to blame. You can't take it personally.
"And I'm used to being able to back myself...people always said I reffed well when I played!"
Badullovich helped form the Bega Chicks for the 2012 season and has been a passionate proponent of female involvement in regional rugby league in the years before - and since - at Moruya, Narooma and Bega clubs.
Badullovich said undergoing an ACL reconstruction three years ago along with a win in the National Touch League Australian Championships senior mixed division signalled time on her playing career.
She said she might have played on had Group 16 offered a full contact contest for women (a Nines format debuted in 2018).
However, she was keen to remain involved in the game she loves and took up an invite to join the ranks of Group 16 referees and is "really enjoying" being on the other end of the whistle.
Badullovich said following accreditation, new referees start out on junior games to get the feel for field placement and rule enforcement.
"Then if you're good enough and confident enough you can get invited up to seniors.
"It's always about doing the best for the girls," she said of her time refereeing league-tag games.
"It shouldn't be about the referee, but I always hope I'm doing the best job for the players."
Badullovich said the appointment of Belinda Sharpe as the first top flight female rugby league referee in Australia was "absolutely" a good thing.
"I have to admit, the encouragement I receive from my male co-referees has been tremendous," she said.
"They show complete support in me and in my development. And I would think it's the same at NRL level.
"It's fantastic for girls starting out to see the different paths they can take now."
Badullovich said she will continue to officiate league-tag this season, but is confident of further under 18 game call-ups in the near future.