RN Archives: The 2004 Tooheys New Cup Season In Review

Minor Premiers Randwick defeated an Eastwood side led by three-time Catchpole Medal winner Scott Fava to claim the 2004 Tooheys New Cup.

Before the decider, Rugby News scribe Terry Smith published a recap of the year that was and just about every player across the competition earned a mention.


The revival of the Galloping Greens is almost complete. Only the grand final needs to be won for the first time since 2000 with an unbeaten record, a rare achievement.

Michael Cheika and David Knox have nurtured a mix of outstanding young talent in a way that should be a blueprint for aspiring coaches. It's all about winning rugby matches with style.

Look at the statistics. In thirteen matches in the Toohey's New Cup, the men in myrtle green have swept in for 93 tries and conceded a mere 23, easily the highest and lowest in the series. They won the minor premiership by 12 points and annihilated Eastwood 57-15 in a virtuoso performance in the major semi­final.

Cheika and Knox have developed a superlative team by adding fitness, forward structure and strong defence to the club's traditional flair in which the ball flickers bewilderingly through willing hands.

After the 73-27 eclipse of West Harbour, their Wallaby halfback Chris Whitaker summed up: "In the past we've won games off scrappy ball, but now our forwards are dominating up front and I'm getting the ball going forward."

When you have a player of Whitaker's calibre getting the ball on a plate and backs like Shaun Berne who tops the point scorers in the Toohey's New Cup with 147, and Morgan Turinui outside him, there can only be one outcome.

Randwick could be ruthless when they gained the upper hand. Like a school of sharks tasting blood, they buried hapless Penrith 100-0 and disposed of Parramatta 97-5, West Harbour 73-27, Norths 55-7 and Sydney University 52-34.

Stephen Hoiles, the No 8, came from outside the 36-man training squad to make the Wallaby squad for the trip to Europe, a selection that was given the seal of approval by former Australian coach Dave Brockhoff, noted as a guru of back-row play.

Randwick's Stephen Hoiles

Brockhoff also puts a huge wrap on flanker Lei Tomiki, declaring: ''I'm in love with his technique. He goes that extra yard at ground level and has a beautiful angle on his lines."

Hooker Adam Freier's work­rate is so high that he surely is the one with the Duracell battery, second-rower Steve Brennan has been an unsung hero with his work in the zones of pain and the late addition of veteran Warwick Waugh has taken the Randwick pack to a new level.


With less than half of his 2003 premiership outfit returning, coach Chris Hickey has done a remarkable job getting the Woodies into their fifth grand final in six years.

How many clubs could have overcome the loss of Scott Staniforth, Simon Kasprowicz, Matt Hodgson, Van Humphries, Travis Hall, James Hilgendorf and Robbie Miller in one hit? None, I dare say.

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