Shane Heal denies betting on basketball team he coached

Queensland Police are investigating whether Australian basketball great Shane Heal was involved in betting on a team in the Women's National Basketball League, while he was coach and director of the South East Queensland Stars.

Detectives from the Organised Crime Investigation Unit have questioned several figures associated with the Stars about bets placed on two games against Townsville Fire and Sydney Uni.

Shane Heal, former head coach of the South East Queensland Stars
Shane Heal, former head coach of the South East Queensland Stars Photo: Brett Hemmings

Heal's business partner and chairman of SE Queensland Stars Jarrod Sierocki emphatically denied that he, or the four-time Olympian, had any knowledge of bets placed on WNBL games.

Brisbane-based law firm, Mullins Lawyers, also issued a statement on behalf of Mr Heal and Mr Sierocki.

"Our clients strenuously deny any allegations of the above kind. Any such allegation or suggestion is abhorrent to our clients, false, and insulting," the statement said.

Fairfax Media has been told a $500 bet placed on the Stars to beat Sydney Uni by 10 points or less was made by an employee of Brisbane-based company, Insolvency Guardian, which is owned by Mr Sierocki.


The man is also believed to have made another $100 bet for the Stars to lose against the Sydney club.

The Stars won the game by 8 points.

Fairfax Media does not suggest any illegal conduct by Heal or the other directors of the SE Queensland Stars.

Basketball Australia chief executive Anthony Moore said BA wanted police to investigate this matter fully before it looked into whether there were any breaches of its code.

BA's policy has a lower burden of proof than the legal system and among the highest penalties is a life ban from basketball. 

"Integrity and anti-doping is top of the list for sporting bodies and we take them with the utmost seriousness," Mr Moore said.

Heal declined to comment when contacted by Fairfax Media, following a disastrous debut season for the Stars.

Boomers legend Shane Heal in heated stoush with America's Charles Barkley.

Boomers legend Shane Heal in a heated stoush with America's Charles Barkley. Photo: Tim Clayton

Saddled with almost $1.3 million in debt, the SE Queensland Stars were placed into liquidation on February 3.

When Basketball Australia and receivers took control of the ailing club, several sponsors has warned they would sever links with the club if Heal retained his coaching position.

Heal also resigned as director of the WNBL franchise on February 1 - just two days before a liquidator was appointed - but told the playing group that he had been unaware of the club's parlous financial state.

Two other directors also stood down just days before the collapse.

Documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission reveal Heal is not one of 37 creditors owed money by the club, while most of the players and staff have not been paid some of their wages or superannuation.

While his illustrious basketball career sits comfortably among Australia's greatest players, Heal's performance in the corporate sector has been tainted by bankruptcy proceedings in 2011 and a string of embittered investors.

Beginning with a Subway franchise in 2003, the former Boomers star built a hospitality empire worth $30 million by his own estimation, which included noodle shops, cafes, burger and pizza restaurants.

At it's peak, Heal claimed he employed 360 people, but by December 2011 he was declared bankrupt with $10 in his account.

He reportedly owed at least $8.8 million to unsecured creditors, while bankruptcy examinations in 2014 revealed Heal had received money from current NBA coach Brett Brown and former Boomers' forward and teammate Matt Nielsen among others in his failed ventures.

Those same hearings also questioned why Heal had resigned from his director roles of his 38 companies three months before the business went under.

He reportedly told examiners that he was unable to recall what had prompted him to step down.