Shyla Heal signed by Townsville Fire, mutual release from Sydney Flames, unexplained absence, Shane Heal investigation
Mystery surrounds the sudden exit of Australian basketball player Shyla Heal and her legendary father Shane’s absence from their WNBL club.
Shyla Heal wasted no time in signing an end-of-season deal with the Townsville Fire, merely hours after being released from her contract with the Sydney Flames on Wednesday.
More remarkably, she will suit-up for the Fire in its WNBL round 13 clash with the Perth Lynx at the Bendat Basketball Centre on Wednesday night.
In a statement, the Flames announced the club and Heal had “agreed to a mutual release” for the remainder of the 2022-23 season.
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The point guard played 27 games for Sydney over two seasons after she was brutally cut from the WNBA in 2021.
Heal had not featured in the Flames’ last two games with the club citing “personal reasons” for her absence.
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The 21-year-old debuted for the Opals during last year’s World Cup qualifiers in Serbia.
The Flames’ coach, Heal’s father Shane, has also been mysteriously absent from the club’s last three matches – listed as “unavailable to coach”.
Heal’s journey back from brutal rejection
An Australian basketball great, Shane Heal is currently being investigated by the club.
As yet, there has been no comment from either party as to why Shane Heal has stepped back from coaching or the reason for the club’s internal investigation.
“I’m sure, at some stage, that’ll come out but, right now, you know I can’t say anything,” Shane Heal said on The Basketball Show this week.
“I’m getting messages from journos all over the place. I can’t say anything, my hands are tied. At some stage I’ll be able to talk.”
Under his current three-year deal, Shane Heal is tied to the head coaching role at the Flames until 2024.
In Shane Heal’s absence from the sidelines, assistant coach Shelley Gorman assumed control of the side with just over 24 hours notice.
In its own statement, the Townsville Fire said Shyla would play for the side for the remainder of the 2022-23 season as it chases a finals spot.
Townsville coach Shannon Seebohm was pleased to have Heal back on board after a previous 16-game stint with the team.
“She is a familiar face to the team and fans due to her being a key part of our run during the (pandemic-interrupted) 2020 hub season where we played in the grand final,” she said on Wednesday.
“Shyla will add to our guard depth and provide a scoring punch for us as we aim to qualify for the finals.”
The Fire are currently placed third on the WNBL ladder, while the Flames sit second-last with only four wins this season.
Heal will be eligible to represent the Fire in the final if she plays in all seven of the side’s remaining regular season games.
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