Geoff Toovey

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Geoffrey Toovey
Personal information
Nickname Tooves[1]
Born (1969-06-17) 17 June 1969 (age 46)
Sydney, New South Wales
Playing information
Height 168 cm (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 70 kg (11 st 0 lb)
Position Halfback, Hooker
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1988–99 Manly Warringah 238 35 0 0 140
2000–01 Northern Eagles 48 0 0 0 0
Total 286 35 0 0 140
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1990–97 NSW City 4 0 0 0 0
1990–00 New South Wales 16 0 0 0 0
1991–98 Australia 13 0 0 0 0
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2012–15 Manly Warringah 102 59 1 42 58
Source: Rugby League Project

Geoffrey "Geoff" Toovey (born 17 June 1969 in Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian professional rugby league football coach and former player of the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. He is the current head coach at the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles of the National Rugby League. He was educated at Davidson High School. Toovey played halfback for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, then played as a hooker later in his career at the Northern Eagles. He played 286 first-grade matches in all, and captained Manly to the 1996 ARL premiership and the 1995 and 1997 grand finals. He played in 13 international matches for Australia between 1991 and 1998. Toovey is currently the head coach of Manly-Warringah. He is a qualified accountant and a member of the board of the National Roads and Motorists' Association.

Club career[edit]

Geoff Toovey made his debut for the Sea Eagles on 7 May 1988 as a replacement for Cliff Lyons as Manly defeated Cronulla 44-30 at Brookvale Oval. He was then picked a few weeks later for Manly's 30–0 upset against the touring Great Britain side and was named man-of-the-match. Lyons at five-eighth and Toovey at halfback formed a long standing and strong partnership enabling Manly to be consistent finals contenders all through the 1990s. Toovey's form for Manly saw coach Bob Fulton move former test and 1987 premiership winning halfback Des Hasler to Lock-forward.

In 1989 under the coaching of former Manly international Alan Thompson, Toovey continued his halves partnership with Lyons and Hasler staying at lock, though the Sea Eagles fell to 12th on the ladder. Thompson was replaced in 1990 by former New Zealand Kiwis and Wigan coach Graham Lowe, with Toovey's form good enough for State of Origin selection for New South Wales. Manly returned to the finals in 1990, finishing fourth, though he ultimately missed a place on the 1990 Kangaroo tour (coached by Fulton), with selectors preferring Queensland half Allan Langer and Canberra Raiders dual-premiership half Ricky Stuart, with Hasler and Greg Alexander as backups though both mostly played utility or fullback roles on tour.

The Sea Eagles again made the finals in 1991, and though they were bundled out in the finals after losses to North Sydney and dual reigning premiers Canberra, Toovey made his international debut on the Kangaroos mini tour of Papua New Guinea. 1992 saw Manly miss the finals for only the fourth time since 1980.

When Michael O'Connor retired at the end of 1992, Lowe, who was replaced in mid-1993 by Bob Fulton after being forced to step down due to health problems, appointed Toovey as team captain. He led the side to three Grand Final appearances from 1995 to 1997. He won one premiership against St George in 1996, playing the match with a fractured eye socket as Manly won their 6th premiership, Toovey was honoured on the day as winner of the Clive Churchill Medal as the man-of-the-match.

Toovey's first year as captain of the Sea Eagles got off to a bad start when he broke his jaw in a pre-season trial game, with Des Hasler captaining the side in his absence. A total knee reconstruction in 1994 curtailed his season and despite returning to lead Manly to the Semi-finals that year, he was unable to press for selection for the 1994 Kangaroo tour.

At the end of 1999 series with those clubs who were financially struggling needing to make changes to stay part of the new post-Super League amalgamated competition, Toovey was chosen as foundation captain of the Northern Eagles merger between Manly and the North Sydney Bears. He played in every match of the Northern Eagles first two seasons.

Representative career[edit]

Toovey debuted for the New South Wales Blues in 1990, and was selected for the Australian teams end-of-season tour of Papua New Guinea in 1991 where he made his test debut for the Kangaroos, playing in all four games on tour including both tests against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls.

During the 1995 season at the commencement of the Super League war, Toovey again played State of Origin for NSW, though the team suffered a 3-0 loss to Queensland who were coached by his former Manly team mate Paul Vautin. With the non-selection of Super League players, Toovey was recalled to the Australian team for the first time since 1991 in the 3-0 Trans-Tasman series win over New Zealand in 1995. At the end of the season in which Manly finished as minor premiers but beaten Grand Finalists, he was selected in the Australian squad for the 1995 Rugby League World Cup, playing in the Kangaroos 16-8 win over host nation England in the World Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. Although selected at halfback for the game, coach bob Fulton only played Toovey in the position during scrums and utilised his speed off the mark by playing him at dummy-half in general play with Andrew Johns (named at hooker) assuming the halfback role.

In the 1996 State of Origin series, Toovey and Johns continued with the now commonplace positional and role interchange they had used successfully in the World Cup. It was here that Toovey showed himself to be a world class runner out of dummy half, as well as his ability as an exceptional grass-cutting defender.

In 1997 Toovey captained New South Wales to a State of Origin series victory and played a Test match against a Rest of the World side.

In 2000 he played at hooker in NSW's clean sweep against Queensland.


At the height of the Super League war Toovey was honoured as Australian Test captain for the 1996 one-off Test against the Papua New Guinea Palais (the ARL loyalist side).

Post playing[edit]

Toovey retired at the end of 2001. He became an accountant by profession and a member of the board of the NRMA.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

He joined the Manly coaching staff when Des Hasler took over as coach in 2004 and in 2011 was appointed as Manly's head coach from the 2012 season, after Hasler first announced he would be moving to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for the 2012 season.

Toovey's first competitive match in charge of the Sea Eagles was their defeat in the 2012 World Club Challenge.

In the 2012 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles season, Toovey's first as an NRL head coach, the club came to within one game of the grand final but lost to Melbourne.

In the 2013 NRL season, Toovey guided Manly into the Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters. In a controversial game in which there were many contentious decisions made by referees Shayne Hayne and Ben Cummins, the Roosters ran out 26-18 winners in front of 81,491 fans at Sydney's ANZ Stadium. During the year, Toovey was fined AU$10,000 by the National Rugby League following his press-conference after Manly had lost their Round 23 game to South Sydney. Toovey had been unhappy with a number of refereeing decisions during the game, won 22-10 by the Rabbitohs, and had famously called for an investigation.[3]

His outbursts were later referenced in a parody of Redfoo's music video, Let's Get Ridiculous, which was performed by The Footy Show panellist Darryl Brohman. Both the music video and parody were filmed in Manly, New South Wales.[4]



  • Whiticker, Alan (2004) Captaining the Kangaroos, New Holland, Sydney

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Paul Harragon
Australian national rugby league captain
Succeeded by
Alan Langer