St Helens player Tara Jones is set to make rugby league history this weekend when refereeing Oldham v Cornwall on Sunday (April 13).

Jones’ role in the League One game will be the first time a female has refereed a men’s domestic senior professional rugby league game.

The England international has a wide range of experience refereeing.

She began refereeing at the age of 12, and now aged 27 she continues to do so at one of the most elite levels.

Jones previously made history in 2018 when becoming the first female on-field match official in a Super League match.

The then 21-year-old was an in-goal judge in a Wigan v Wakefield clash.

Earlier this season, Jones refereed in the Challenge Cup as the RAF battled the Navy in the first round.

Despite her experience, this Sunday’s fixture at Boundary Park is her first time refereeing in a senior professional capacity.

Ahead of the game, Rugby Football League’s head of match officials Phil Bentham spoke about Jones’ history-making role.

Bentham said: “Tara has earned this opportunity after years of steady development as a match official through the community game and as a regular touch judge and in-goal judge for professional matches.

“She has received high-profile appointments on a number of competitions, including this season’s Bettered Challenge Cup, and has impressed everyone with the way she has performed – earning the respect of players, coaches and her fellow match officials.”

Making history in the men’s and women’s rugby league games

Alongside her refereeing career, Jones has also maintained an impressive rugby league career as a player.

She plays both internationally for England and domestically for St Helens Women RFC.

Jones has been an integral player in her role as hooker for St Helens since the club’s establishment in 2018.

As well as making history in the men’s game, she has also made history in the women’s.

In 2023, Jones was the first player to score a try in a Women’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

The achievement helped secure her sixth Challenge Cup victory.

This weekend will prove a busy one for Jones who will be defending her Challenge Cup title one day before refereeing for Oldham v Cornwall.

St Helens met Huddersfield Giants in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup on Saturday at 12pm.

Jones has been named by manager Matty Smith as 1 of 21 players in the squad at Saturday’s game at Crusader Park.

(Main pic by Alamy under agreed licence)