2023 State of Origin Match Officials, Referee Names for Game 1

In the thrilling world of rugby league, the State of Origin series stands out as one of the most intense and highly anticipated events of the year. As fans eagerly await the clash between the rival states, it’s essential to shed light on the individuals who play a crucial role in ensuring fair play and upholding the integrity of the game.

State of Origin 2023 Match Officials

The 2023 State of Origin Game 1 is no exception, and we will take a closer look at the match officials who will preside over this monumental contest.

2023 State of Origin Match Officials, Referee Names for Game 1

Ashley Klein: The Referee for Game 1

As the head official for the highly anticipated Game 1 of the 2023 State of Origin series, Ashley Klein brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the field. With a deep understanding of the nuances of the game, Klein has earned his reputation as one of the top referees in the rugby league world.

Experience and Background

Ashley Klein’s journey as a rugby league referee spans over a decade. His dedication, passion, and commitment to the sport have propelled him to officiate in some of the most prestigious matches around the globe. Klein’s astute decision-making abilities and exceptional game management skills make him a reliable choice for the State of Origin.

Previous State of Origin Appearances

Having officiated numerous State of Origin matches in the past, Ashley Klein is no stranger to the pressure-cooker environment that these games present. His presence on the field brings a sense of calmness and authority, ensuring players adhere to the rules while delivering an enthralling contest for the fans.

Officiating Style

Klein’s officiating style is characterized by a firm but fair approach. He commands respect from the players, coaches, and spectators through clear communication and consistent enforcement of the rules. With an ability to maintain control even in the most intense moments, Klein sets the tone for an exciting yet disciplined encounter.

Grant Atkins: The Review Official

In the modern era of rugby league, the role of the review official has become increasingly significant. Grant Atkins has been entrusted with this crucial responsibility for the 2023 State of Origin Game 1, where his expertise will ensure accurate and fair decisions.

Role and Responsibilities

As the review official, Grant Atkins is tasked with utilizing video technology to assist in making difficult decisions during the game. His role includes reviewing contentious situations, such as potential tries or infringements, and providing recommendations to the on-field referee based on his analysis of the video footage.

Expertise and Experience

Grant Atkins’ extensive experience as a match official, coupled with his comprehensive understanding of the rules, positions him well for the role of review official. His keen eye for detail and ability to interpret complex situations make him an invaluable asset in ensuring the right calls are made on crucial game-changing incidents.

Importance of Review Officials

The presence of a review official adds an extra layer of accuracy and accountability to the game. With the help of video technology, contentious decisions can be reviewed and clarified, reducing the margin for error and increasing the fairness of outcomes.

Drew Oultram and Phil Henderson: The Touch Judges

While the spotlight often shines brightest on the referees, the touch judges play a vital role in ensuring the smooth running of a rugby league match. For the 2023 State of Origin Game 1, Drew Oultram and Phil Henderson have been selected as the touch judges.

Significance of Touch Judges in Rugby League

Touch judges serve as the referee’s eyes along the touchlines and provide valuable assistance in making decisions, particularly regarding the ball going out of play, knock-ons, and forward passes. Their expertise helps maintain the integrity of the game and ensures fairness on the field.

Profile of Drew Oultram

Drew Oultram’s appointment as a touch judge for the State of Origin is a testament to his skills and dedication as a match official. With a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of the game, Oultram’s presence will contribute to the smooth flow of the contest.

Profile of Phil Henderson

Phil Henderson’s selection as a touch judge for the 2023 State of Origin Game 1 reflects his standing within the rugby league officiating fraternity. With a reputation for making accurate and timely decisions, Henderson’s contribution will be crucial in maintaining the integrity of the match.

Gerard Sutton: The Standby Referee

In any high-stakes game, it’s essential to have a contingency plan in place. Gerard Sutton assumes the role of the standby referee for the 2023 State of Origin Game 1, ensuring a seamless transition should unforeseen circumstances arise.

Role of Standby Referee

As the standby referee, Gerard Sutton remains prepared to step in if the appointed referee is unable to continue officiating due to injury or other unforeseen reasons. His experience and knowledge of the game make him a reliable choice to maintain the flow and fairness of the match.

Gerard Sutton’s Achievements and Reputation

Gerard Sutton’s impressive track record as a referee speaks volumes about his expertise and dedication. With a wealth of experience in officiating high-profile matches, including previous State of Origin games, Sutton has garnered respect from players, coaches, and fans alike.

Liam Kennedy: The Standby Touch Judge

Alongside the standby referee, the standby touch judge ensures that any unexpected changes to the officiating team do not disrupt the game’s integrity. Liam Kennedy fulfills this crucial role for the 2023 State of Origin Game 1.

Responsibilities of Standby Touch Judge

The standby touch judge is ready to step in should one of the appointed touch judges be unable to perform their duties. Liam Kennedy’s presence guarantees a smooth continuation of the match, with minimal impact on the game’s flow.

Liam Kennedy’s Background and Contributions

Liam Kennedy’s selection as the standby touch judge reflects his competence and capability as a match official. His understanding of the intricacies of the game, coupled with his attention to detail, make him an excellent choice to support the officiating team.


The 2023 State of Origin Game 1 promises to be a gripping contest between fierce rivals, and the match officials chosen for this prestigious encounter will undoubtedly contribute to its success. From the seasoned referee Ashley Klein to the expert review official Grant Atkins, along with the trusted touch judges Drew Oultram and Phil Henderson, and the standby officials Gerard Sutton and Liam Kennedy, the officiating team is well equipped to ensure a fair and enthralling spectacle.


Q: Who determines the match officials for State of Origin games?

The match officials for State of Origin games are typically selected by the governing body responsible for organizing the series, in consultation with experienced referees and officials.

Q: How are referees selected for State of Origin matches?

Referees for State of Origin matches are chosen based on their experience, expertise, and performance in high-level rugby league matches. Their track record in handling intense encounters and making accurate decisions plays a crucial role in the selection process.

Q: Can referees be replaced during a game?

While it is rare for referees to be replaced during a game, unforeseen circumstances such as injury or illness may necessitate a substitution. In such cases, standby officials are ready to step in to ensure the continuity of the match.

Q: What qualifications are required to become a match official?

Becoming a match official in rugby league typically involves undergoing training programs, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the rules, and gaining practical experience by officiating in lower-level games. It also requires a strong understanding of the game’s dynamics and the ability to make split-second decisions.

Q: Do match officials receive any training or support?

Yes, match officials receive ongoing training and support to enhance their skills and keep up with any rule changes or updates. Training programs focus on decision-making, positioning, and communication, ensuring that officials are equipped to handle the demands of high-level matches.

Stay tuned for more State of ORigin 2023 news and updates on sydneyeventing.org.