Heal rips into Bul­lets

Com­plaint a low blow, Dragons coach says

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

F U M I N G S o u t h Dragons player-coach Shane Heal has slammed Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League club Bris­bane as ‘petty’and ac­cused them of launch­ing a per­sonal at­tack on him.

T h e f o u r - t i m e Olympian un­loaded on Bris­bane af­ter NBL Com­mis­sioner Rick Bur­ton yes­ter­day dis­missed a for­mal com­plaint from the Bul­lets about an in­ci­dent where Heal copped an un­sports­man­like foul for an el­bow to ri­val guard Stephen Black in Wed­nes­day’s match at Voda­fone Arena.

‘‘I’m ab­so­lutely spew­ing about it,’’ a fu­ri­ous Heal said yes­ter­day.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve they’d stoop to this level.

‘‘It’s a per­sonal at­tack from those guys (Bris­bane).’’

Heal sug­gested Bris­bane had been stung by com­ments he made on television last year that they’d un­der-achieved with all the tal­ent at their dis­posal.

‘‘Jeff (Bul­lets gen­eral man­ager J e f f V a n Gronin­gen) and Joey (coach Joey Wright) have ob­vi­ously taken those com­ments per­son­ally,’’ he said.

‘‘But to come out and say I el­bowed him (Black) in the (tes­ti­cles), which is just wrong, and say I ma­li­ciously did that is dis­grace­ful.’’

Wright fired up at the post-game press con­fer­ence, claim­ing Heal had aimed his el­bow at Black’s groin in a ‘very ma­li­cious ges­ture’.

The club fol­lowed up by lodg­ing a com­plaint with the NBL on Thurs­day but, af­ter watch­ing the match video, Bur­ton de­cided Heal had no case to an­swer.

‘‘Upon view­ing the avail­able ev­i­dence, we felt that the in­ci­dent did not war­rant a tri­bunal hear­ing and that it was han­dled ap­pro­pri­ately by the ref­er­ees on the night with the is­su­ing of an un­sports­man­like foul as a penalty,’’ Bur­ton said. Heal re­mained an­gry. ‘‘It’s a per­sonal at­tack,’’ said Heal, who played for Bris­bane as a teenager in 1988 and again be­tween 1992-95.

‘‘Ev­ery­one who saw the in­ci­dent said the same thing, that the ref­eree was in po­si­tion and that it de­served a foul and you get on with it.

‘‘Blackie smiled and ran for the free throw line.

‘‘If some­one did that to me 10 times, I’d take it ev­ery sin­gle time and go and hit the free throws.

‘‘The thing that is dis­ap­point­ing to me is I walk into the press con­fer­ence and say we were taught a bas­ket­ball les­son and that Bris­bane were at a dif­fer­ent level to us.

‘‘It’s taken them four and a half years to buy and build the best team in the coun­try to get to this level.’’

Van Gronin­gen said Bris­bane had fol­lowed pro­ce­dure in back­ing their coach and bring­ing the in­ci­dent to the NBL’s no­tice.

‘‘They’ve looked at it and we ac­cept their de­ci­sion,’’ he said.

WHO, ME? . . . Shane Heal re­mon­strates with match of­fi­cials dur­ing Wed­nes­day

night’s fiery clash with the Bris­bane Bul­lets at Voda­fone Arena

Townsville Bul­letin

Satur­day, De­cem­ber 23, 2006

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