Bentham, Child, Hicks and Thaler among World Cup officials

Seven Super League match officials have been chosen for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup later this month.

Phil Bentham, James Child, Robert Hicks, Ben Thaler, Chris Kenall, Scott Mikalauskas and Liam Moore will travel Down Under to officiate the world’s best.

NRL Grand Final referees Matt Cecchin and Gerard Sutton are also included, with female referee Belinda Sleeman headlining the 26-strong list announced by head of officiating Tony Archer.

Sleeman was deemed unlucky not to be appointed to an NRL match this season and will become the first female referee when the tournament kicks off later this month.

“This is an historical tournament in which all match officials, announced today, qualified by officiating in either the NRL or Super League competitions,” Archer said.

“I have worked closely with my counterpart Steve Ganson and the other coaching staff to select the group. We have the Grand Final officials from each competition as part of the squad.

“Their selections are a result of each individual’s strong performances throughout the 2017 domestic season and there is a wealth of international and representative depth in the squad.

“The squad will be based in Brisbane throughout. This is a great opportunity for match officials at the elite international Rugby League level to come together as one and I am confident they will perform very well.”

Archer also confirmed that World Cup games will feature only one referee, with an in-goal referral system in place rather than the much-maligned NRL Bunker.

“The tournament will be played under the International Laws of the Game with specific interpretations that reflect the common rules played in Super League and NRL, including seven tackles from a 20-metre restart, a tap restart from a 40/20,” Archer said.

“All matches will have one referee and will utilise an in goal video referee referral system.”

World Cup officials: Grant Atkins, Phil Bentham, Chris Butler, Matt Cecchin, Steve Chiddy, James Child, Mark Craven, Ben Cummins, Robert Hicks, Adam Gee, Chris Kendall, Ashley Klein, Jared Maxwell, Chris McMillan, Scott Mikalauskas, Liam Moore, Dave Munro, Henry Perenara, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski, Tim Roby, Belinda Sleeman, Jon Stone, Bernard Sutton, Chris Sutton, Gerard Sutton, Ben Thaler, Michael Wise.