Trailblazer Karra-Lee Nolan creates another slice of rugby league history

Former Group Seven official Karra-Lee Nolan will referee the NSW Women's Premiership grand final on Sunday. Photo: NSWRL
Former Group Seven official Karra-Lee Nolan will referee the NSW Women's Premiership grand final on Sunday. Photo: NSWRL

IN rugby league circles, few have achieved what South Coast's Karra-Lee Nolan has in her young career.

Since then, the 26-year-old, after eight seasons in Group Seven, she took on a new challenge and decided to referee in Sydney.

During that time, Nolan has made such an impression that she will again break down the gender barriers this Sunday, when she officiates the NSW Women's Premiership match between Central Coast Roosters and North Sydney Bears at Bankwest Stadium - marking the first ever appointment of its kind in the history of the organisation.

This selection has been more than 12 months in the making, with NSWRL referees high performance coach Stuart Raper saying Nolan had just missed out on refereeing the last year's corresponding final between Newcastle and Mounties.

"She's worked hard on the conditioning aspect and worked hard on her game and we rewarded her with the appointment because of those reasons," Raper said to NSWRL.

"She was pipped at the post last year and has taken one step further this year."

Nolan, who played for both Warilla-Lake South and Albion Park-Oak Flats during her time in Group Seven before retiring in 2014, said she was thrilled to be part of the grand final day on Sunday.

Karra-Lee Nolan playing for Albion Park-Oak Flats in 2014. Photo: Supplied

Karra-Lee Nolan playing for Albion Park-Oak Flats in 2014. Photo: Supplied

"The grand final is the pinnacle of what we do and it's what we train hard for all year round," Nolan, who's refereed a grand final every season since starting in 2010, said.

"If you weren't disheartened for not getting one, or not excited for getting one, then you're probably in it for the wrong reasons.

"I love the sport, I love being able to give back to the game and when you achieve so much in the game, especially controlling a grand final, it makes you even hungrier for the future."

Nolan's fixture, kicking off at 1.15pm, is one of three at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday, along with the Sydney Shield (Ryde-Eastwood Hawks vs Cronulla-Caringbah Sharks at 11am) and Presidents Cup (Maitland Pickers vs Glebe-Burwood Wolves at 3.30pm).

This story Trailblazer Nolan creates another slice of rugby league history first appeared on South Coast Register.