Heal's parting shot in the arm for Hawks


Outgoing Sydney coach Shane Heal suggested Wollongong were capable of causing a post-season boilover after the Hawks knocked the Kings out of the finals race last Friday.

Shane Heal

Shane Heal

Wollongong shot down their NSW rivals with 19 of 35 three-pointers, pulling away in the fourth quarter to win 100-87 and book a semi-final stoush with minor premiers Perth.

Oscar Forman and Rotnei Clarke formed a lethal perimeter partnership for the Hawks, nailing a collective 15 of 26 threes.

Heal caught everyone off guard after the game when he revealed he would not be putting his hand up to coach the Kings in 2014-15.

But he magnanimously put aside his own dejection to discuss Wollongong's play-off prospects.

"They're a dangerous outfit," Heal said.

"Everyone's going to write them off in the play-offs, but they're going to Perth with nothing to lose.

"They're a good team and they've got some good players, and I wish them luck in the finals."

Heal guided the Kings into the finals last season and narrowly missed a spot this year.

He admires how the Hawks have a knack of making the best of what they've got.

"You take your hat off to [coach] Gordie [McLeod] and the club and what they've done," he said.

"They've got a core group of players they've kept for a long period of time, they know each other and the system.

"They had nothing to lose [when they were] on the bottom of the ladder, and then they put it all together. They do a good job. We didn't find that stability throughout the whole season, which was really disappointing."

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Heal's shock announcement about his future was that he had not informed the club.

"I haven't told anyone apart from my family, but obviously I've been thinking about it for the last three or four months," the four-time Olympian said.

"I'm really disappointed to finish on this note. I wanted to finish with the Kings on a high. I won't be putting my hand up to do this job again.

"I wanted to be able to [announce it] after we'd made the finals, and made a run in the finals. You toss up when is the right time, but that's the way it is."


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