In the Spotlight: The Perfect Shooters Club

Champion Data, Wednesday, 23 February 2011.

The 2011 ANZ Championship season is well and truly underway and what a start from the shooters of the competition. Even with an evident increase in defensive pressure, the shooters have well and truly left their mark. Over all four seasons of the ANZ Championship, the perfect game from a player with 100% match time has been achieved on only ten separate occasions. More impressively, there are only three members of this very exclusive club - Irene van Dyk from the First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic, Susan Pratley from the NSW Swifts and Cathrine Latu from the LG Mystics.

Irene van Dyk from the WBOP Magic leads the way, having shot five of the first six perfect games in ANZ Championship history. She joined "The Perfect Shooters Club" back in 2008 after shooting the perfect game on three different occasions - 33 from 33 in Round Seven, 27 from 27 in Round 13 and 29 from 29 in the Major Semi Final. In 2009 she backed it up with two perfect games in a row, with 38 from 38 in Round Two, then an out of this world 45 from 45 the following round. This still stands as the highest number of goals in a perfect game in ANZ Championship history.

Susan Pratley from the Swifts was the second player in ANZ Championship history to shoot a perfect game. Her introduction to "The Perfect Shooters Club" came way back in Round 10 2008, the first season of the ANZ Championship, when she shot 28 from 28. After waiting three seasons for this to happen again, she has started 2011 in great form shooting an amazing 27 from 27 in a dominate display against last season's premiers in Round One. This was the second perfect shooting game of her ANZ Championship career.

The third person to gain the unattainable for many shooters and join "The Perfect Shooters Club" is Cathrine Latu from the Mystics. Latu had to wait until 2010 for her first perfect game, but she has since followed it up rather quickly. She has now recorded three perfect games from her past seven matches over the 2010/2011 ANZ Championship seasons. Her work in Round One of the current season saw her shoot an astonishing 36 goals from 36 attempts. Latu was also the only perfect shooter in season 2010, recording perfect games in two rounds. She shot the second highest perfect game in ANZ Championship history in Round 9, netting 41 goals from 41 attempts. She then completed a more modest game in Round 13, recording 17 from 17.

Whilst all three players play very different roles for their team, all have honed their shooting skills to be the world's best, which qualifies them as exclusive members of The Perfect Shooters Club. With 2011 being a World Championship year, and the dramatic and absorbing Commonwealth Games Gold Medal game still fresh in our minds, these three shooters have set extremely high standards that the rest of the shooters in the ANZ Championship will strive to emulate.

Two rounds, two perfect games - what are the odds of a perfect season?