Meet Tara Jones, the remarkable Rugby League referee

The 20-year-old has officiated in the champion schools final at Wembley, played rugby union and also played for her county.

She already has international honours in Rugby League and capped off a remarkable 2016 by winning the double (Challenge Cup and Grand Final) with Thatto Heath Crusaders, turning out at hooker in their impressive 36-8 Grand Final win over Bradford Bulls at Widnes Vikings’ Select Security Stadium last weekend.
Tara Ref
At eight years old, she got into Rugby League at her local community club, Crosfields in Warrington, before she started to take an interest in refereeing aged 12.

Tara was spotted playing for college and went on to be selected to play for the England Students, while continuing to play at Cronton College and studying for her university degree at Staffordshire University. Such is her passion for being involved with Rugby League, a family holiday in the Cotswolds was once put on hold.

She was selected to officiate in a 2014 academy game between Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos, and she was adamant she was doing it.

This meant her father, Brian, having to make the 160-mile journey from the Cotswolds to West Yorkshire, to then drive back after the game to continue their holiday, but her father insists it’s ‘all a part of the job.’

On top of that, remarkably, she was chosen to represent her county in rugby union despite never playing the game before, after impressing selectors while playing Rugby League.

After a few games of union with Lancashire, another letter was found behind the door – an invitation to the women’s England trials – not bad for someone who didn’t know the sport.

Unfortunately, she was forced to miss the trials due to another of her commitments – saving lives – Tara was undergoing a lifeguarding course on the same weekend of the trials.

The college and university game has provided Tara with a real stepping stone to achieve great things in the sport, and she insists she’ll always stick with Rugby League.

You could follow in Tara’s foosteps. For more information on becoming a Match Official, click