Heal’s Flames look to ignite season against Flyers

November 28, 2022 | Sydney Flames news

For the fourth straight time to open the WNBL23 season, the Sydney Flames will hit the road in search of victory.

After dropping their opening clashes at Bendigo, Perth and Adelaide, Shane Heal’s side will travel to Melbourne this week to take on the Southside Flyers at the State Basketball Centre on Thursday.

Heal’s daughter and guard Shyla is confident her side can ignite their season against the Lauren Jackson-led Flyers – who are 2-1 this season.

“The key to beating Southside is playing great defence,” Australian Opal Heal said.


“They have so many offensive weapons on their team and if we lockdown on defence we will put ourselves in a good position.”

The Hoops Capital side head into this fixture feeling refreshed and re-energised after a week off due to the international break.

“The group is feeling good – we’ve had a tough start to the season but we are just scratching the surface,” the 21-yeard-old said.

“We know we haven’t played even close to our best basketball yet and we are feeling positive and ready to turn it around.

“The biggest aspect we’ve been working on since the Adelaide game [during the break] is our shooting.

“One of our team’s biggest strengths is our outside shooting so we’ve been getting heaps of shots up and when we start to knock them down we’ll be in a much better position.”

Through the opening three games, Heal, in her second season with the Flames, is averaging 14 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists but the guard knows her best is in front of her.

“Personally, I haven’t been playing my best basketball,” she said.

“Coming off the last seven months with glandular fever, I’m trying to build myself back into playing my best basketball again.”

Heal went on to say a win during Thursday’s match, which tips off at 6.30pm AEDT, would be massive for her harbour city side ahead of their home opener on Sunday at Qudos Bank Arena.

“A road win heading into our first home game would be awesome for our confidence and our momentum, especially with so many more home fixtures to come,” she said.

“We are all excited and can’t wait to see everyone supporting us in the crowd – let’s go Flames.”

Sunday’s fixture, from 4.30pm AEDT, will be part of the WNBL’s Fighting Period Poverty Round (supporting Share the Dignity) and double-header alongside fellow Hoops Capital side the Sydney Kings, who take on Adelaide from 2pm.

Tickets are available via here.