In the Spotlight: Stat Leaders and Milestone Makers

Champion Data, Wednesday, 20 April 2011.

Season 2011 has seen many of the regular faces leading the way in the ANZ Championship statistical categories, but we have also seen the emergence of a number of fresh faces, with some swiftly developing into out-and-out superstars. Season 2011 has also been a year of milestones. We have seen multiple players breaking the 50-game mark for the first time, as well as shooters smashing through the 1,600 goal barrier. With the finals only two weeks away, this season has once again seen sporting elite rise to every challenge.

Stat Leaders - 2011

Still the most important statistics in Netball (in correlation with the final score, of course), our shooters have once again not let the crowds down, wowing all who come with magnificent  displays of accuracy, athleticism and flair. Cathrine Latu from the Northern Mystics leads the way with an impressive 92.7% accuracy. Recording only 25 missed shots over the course of the season which has included two perfect games, Latu has been nothing short of sensational this season and it is little wonder the Mystics are looking good for finals netball in 2011. Also dominating this year is Irene van Dyk from the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic. Showing her true class, van Dyk has once again recorded a shooting percentage over 90%, the only player to have achieved this feat for all four seasons of the ANZ Championship.

Unsurprisingly, the undefeated Queensland Firebirds are the only team to have both their Goal Shooter and Goal Attack in the top 10 for shooting percentage and goals scored.

Goal Assists
The race for leading the goal assists table in 2011 is down to three - Kimberlee Green from the NSW Swifts, Madison Browne from the Melbourne Vixens and Temepara George from the Northern Mystics. Unfortunately an injury to Lauren Nourse from the Queensland Firebirds has stopped her charge. With two rounds remaining, only 22 goal assists separate these three great goal providers.

Centre Pass Receives
The fight to top the centre pass receives table is a battle between three - a Thunderbird, a Fever and a Firebird. Getting a team into an attacking position from the centre pass is vital to a team's success and Emily Beaton from the Thunderbirds has risen to the task this season. Leah Shoard has been an absolute rock for the West Coast Fever in 2011 and Natalie Medhurst is not far behind, performing a near perfect season for the yet unchallenged Firebirds.

Not surprisingly the top interceptor this season comes from the undefeated Firebirds, with towering Goal Keeper Laura Geitz topping the list. Geitz ranked sixth in the competition for intercepts last season, but she has taken all before her this year, consistently outperforming her opponents and lifting her defensive skills to the next level. With two rounds to go Sharni Layton, currently ranked second in the competition, has taken more intercepts than she did for the entire season last year. After Geitz and Layton there is a pack of 7 players separated by only 4 intercepts.

Leana de Bruin from the Southern Steel is a stand out when it comes to deflections. She has produced 7 more deflections than any other player at this stage of the season and doesn't look like slowing down. Laura Geitz from the Firebirds and Anna Scarlett from the Mystics are the next best with daylight separating them from the rest.

For the second year running, Romelda Aiken from the Queensland Firebirds is the benchmark when it comes to rebounds. Her height of 196cm makes it near impossible for defenders to re-gather her missed shots. In 2010 she finished with 69 and in 2011 she currently sits on 50, 17 in front of her nearest rivals. In 2011, Laura Geitz from the Firebirds is the benchmark for defensive rebounders, recording 33 in the defensive arc.

Milestone Makers

Games Played
At the start of the season no player had broken the 50 game barrier mark, however 11 rounds later see the competition with 24 players having played 50 games or more. Round 3 2011 is a history making round with four players all topping the milestone for the first time. What is even more impressive about this milestone for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic is that 3 of their players made up that 4. This is a massive achievement for the WBOP Magic organisation in being able to consistently keep their superstars on court week in, week out. Geva Mentor from the Melbourne Vixens will go into the history books for being the first import to achieve the 50 game milestone in the ANZ Championship.

Currently 9 out of the 10 clubs have players on their current roster that have played over 50 ANZ Championship games, with the Canterbury Tactix the only club not to have a player represented. The NSW Swifts leads the way with 6 players, followed by the WBOP Magic and the Melbourne Vixens with 4 each.

Goals Scored
In four seasons of ANZ Championship Netball, 13 players have scored over 1,000 goals with 5 scoring above 1,500. Currently it is a shoot-out (excuse the pun) to reach 2,000 goals first, a fight between the Jamaican superstar-in-waiting Romelda Aiken from the Queensland Firebirds, South African born Silver Fern superstar from the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic Irene van Dyk, and the ever reliable Caitlin Bassett from the West Coast Fever. Both with finals series ahead, Aiken and van Dyk are the firm favourites. To confirm her superstar tag, van Dyk is the only player to have a shooting percentage over 90% for her entire ANZ Championship career.

This season has seen the Perfect Shooters Club increase by 3. In Round 1 Susan Pratley got the season off to a flying start shooting 27 from 27. This was followed in Round 2 by Cathrine Latu from the Northern Mystics with her third entry to the Perfect Shooters Club, scoring 36 from 36. She then repeated this in Round 8 with 42 from 42. Only one perfect game now separates Latu from the WBOP Magic's superstar shooter Irene van Dyk.

Five players have cracked the 100 rebounds tally over their ANZ Championship careers, with Romelda Aiken leading the way, combining impressive offensive rebounding skills with her 196cm athletic frame. Her closet opponent to break 200 rebounds is Casey Williams from the WBOP Magic who has been an absolute defensive rock since the ANZ Championship commenced in 2008. 

There are 2 players that lead the way with Intercepts over the duration of the ANZ Championship since 2008. Casey Williams is a stand out, breaking the 100 intercepts barrier during last season, but with 22 to date this year her tally won't stop growing. She will no doubt push the 150 intercept mark in season 2012. Laura Geitz, with 35 intercepts so far this season, is only 3 intercepts away from breaking the 100 intercept mark. On current form this will surely happen before the finals start.

Youngest Player
Special mention needs to go to Cody Lange from the Adelaide Thunderbirds who in Round 3 became the youngest player ever in ANZ Championship history at 16 years and 123 days. Lange, playing as either a Goal Shooter or Goal Attack, hit the court again in Round 5 and at this stage of the season has played 3 games, shot 4 goals from 8 attempts, has 2 goal assists and has received the ball 4 times from the centre pass. She is no doubt a name to look out for in ANZ Championship seasons to come. 

Leading statistical categories and breaking milestone marks is what separates the good players from the great players. The ANZ Championship is lucky to have the world's best players running around, week in week out, producing stunning performances. Congratulations to all players who have been mentioned in this article and good luck to the teams vying for Championship glory.