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2024 Australian Ninja Open

The Australian Ninja Open is the Ninja Challenge League’s signature team competition format – a high-octane, multi-round relay competition that requires strategy, skill and strength to survive, advance, and claim ultimate victory.

The 2024 Australian Ninja Open will be hosted at Geelong Ninjas alongside the Ninja Challenge League Finals on October 5 & 6, 2024.

Stage One and the Ninja Draft will take place on Saturday, October 5, while the team competitions will take place after the conclusion of Stage Three on Sunday, October 6.

Anyone born in 2011 or older is eligible to purchase a ticket to compete so long as they have a 2024 NCL Membership. Competitors who have purchased an NCL Finals ticket for 2024 are automatically entered as participants at no extra cost.

A list of confirmed competitors and FAQs are available at the bottom of this page.

TICKETS

Tickets to the Australian Ninja Open (ANO) only cost $115.00 and include a run on Stage One of the NCL Finals, and entry into the Ninja Draft, depending on their performance on Stage One (more details on ANO eligibility below), but will not be permitted to attempt Stage Two, even if they clear Stage One, and will not be eligible for any Finals prizes. NOTE: THESE TICKETS DO NOT INCLUDE A FINALS T-SHIRT.

The number of tickets available will be capped at 150, including NCL Finals competitors. There are 80 Finals competitors already signed up, which means only 70 tickets will be available for Australian Ninja Open participants.

More information on the event structure and format is below.

2023 AUSTRALIAN NINJA OPEN FORMAT

OVERVIEW

QUALIFYING

To participate in the ANO, competitors must first qualify for the ANO Ninja Draft by taking on Stage One of the NCL Finals.

For NCL Finals competitors, their Stage One result will be used to determine their eligibility. However, for the purposes of ANO eligibility only – Masters and Young Adults will be held to the same time limit as Adult Division competitors.

For example, if the time limit for Stage One was 2 minutes for Adult Division competitors, and 3 minutes for Masters and Young Adults competitors, the result for Masters and Young Adults used to determine whether they qualify for the ANO would be based on how far they got into Stage One in 2 minutes, not the full 3 minutes they have to clear Stage One as part of the Finals.

For ANO-only competitors, they will attempt Stage One before any Finalists and their results will be pooled with the Finalists to determine ANO eligibility.

After Stage One, the top 18 Masters Division competitors will be named as team captains. The top 72 competitors across all divisions (excluding team captains), will be entered into the Ninja Draft.

The total number of competitors across the NCL Finals and Australian Ninja Open will be capped at 150 competitors, which means over half the competitors at the event will be eligible to participate in the ANO.

NINJA DRAFT

The Ninja Draft will take place after the conclusion of Stage One. The draft order will be in a snake draft order, starting the with the captain who performed best on Stage One and going down the line, then reversing the order after each round of picks until each captain has picked four team-mates.

For example, the top Master in Stage One will have the first pick in the first round, the last pick in the second round, the first pick in the third round and the last pick in the final round.

The team captains will have one minute to make each selection. If the captain fails to pick an athlete in that time, they will forfeit their pick until the end of that round of picks.

Seem a bit confusing still? See last year’s Ninja Draft in action.

Commissioner’s note: “Don’t feel bad if you’re picked last – I was the last pick in the Australian Ninja Open Draft in 2021, but it’s better to be picked last than not picked at all!”

INJURY ALTERNATES

After the draft has been completed and all teams have been set, the team captains will pick an injury alternate from the pool of non-ANO competitors.

These competitors are not officially part of the team, but will function as an alternate for that team if a competitor is unable to continue due to a genuine injury.

RELAY FORMAT

All rounds of the ANO will use the Relay Format, which sees four athletes from each team work together to defeat an eight-obstacle course.

As there are five people on the team and only four athletes participating in the relay course, the team captain must decide who rests in each round – but teams cannot have the same four athletes in consecutive seeding rounds.

To do so, the team captain will assign each athlete to a starting spot at the beginning of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th obstacles.

The athletes will attempt to clear their pair of obstacles in order and tag the next team member. Once an athlete tags the next competitor on their team, they cannot attempt any further obstacles.

If an athlete fails an obstacle, the next athlete in the order will have to make their way to the start of the failed obstacle from their starting platform and attempt to complete those obstacles in addition to their own until they reach the next athlete’s starting position.

If the replacement athlete also fails an obstacle, the next team member in the order attempts the obstacle until all athletes have failed an obstacle or completed the course.

Teams have to think carefully about where they place each athlete – do you put your best athlete at the end so they can bail out the rest of the team or do you put them on the obstacle they are best at regardless of where it sits on the course?

The relay format is about strategy is much as it is about strength and skill.

Sound a bit confusing? Check out last year’s Relay Rounds to see the format in action.

SEEDING ROUND FORMAT

The Seeding Round will see all 18 teams take on the same course.

Based on furthest, fastest, the 18 teams will be split into two pools of nine teams based on their seeding.

POOL APOOL B
12
43
56
87
910
1112
1413
1516
1817

POOL ROUND FORMAT

The Pool Round will be split across the two rigs at Geelong Ninjas, with each pool competing on a different rig. Runs will alternate between each rig, starting with the lowest seed in Pool A, then the lowest seed in Pool B, and so on until the top seed in each pool has competed.

After the courses for each rig have been revealed, the #1 seed from the Seeding Round will be able to pick which rig they want their pool to compete on – adding extra incentive to earning first place in the Seeding Round.

At the conclusion of the Pool Round, the bottom team in each pool is eliminated, and the remaining eight teams in each pool are re-seeded based on their performance in the Pool Round.

ELIMINATION ROUNDS FORMAT

After the Pool Round, the Pools will be split into two eight-team brackets that meet in the middle. Teams will be paired up with another team in an elimination match, with the winner from those two teams progressing to the next stage and the loser being eliminated, following a bracket/tennis draw structure (see below).

In all Elimination Rounds, the top seed in each match-up will get to choose whether they want to run first or second.

There will be a new course for each round.

The Elimination Rounds are as follows:

Not sure how it works yet? See last year’s elimination round in action.

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND FORMAT

The Championship Round will use the Relay Format, with one modification: the course will be 10 obstacles long, so all team members will be required to participate.

The team with the top seed in their bracket will get to choose whether they want to run first or second after the course is revealed. If both teams have the same seed in their bracket (i.e. both were Team #1 in their bracket), then the tiebreaker goes to the team from Pool A Bracket.

Not quite making sense yet? See last year’s Championship Round in action.

PRIZES

The winning team will receive an awesome prize pack from our major sponsors.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

FAQs

What is the Australia Ninja Open?

The Australian Ninja Open is the Ninja Challenge League’s team competition format – a high-octane relay competition that requires strategy, skill and strength to succeed.

When is the Australian Ninja Open?

The Australian Ninja Open takes place alongside the NCL Finals on October 5&6, 2024. Stage One and the Ninja Draft will take place on Saturday, October 5, while the team competitions will take place after the conclusion of Stage Three on Sunday, October 6.

Where is the Australian Ninja Open?

This year’s Australian Ninja Open will be hosted at Geelong Ninjas in Victoria.

Do I sign up as an individual or as a team?

As an individual – as part of the Australian Ninja Open’s unique format, teams are formed as part of the competition itself.

What do I get with my Australian Ninja Open ticket?

An Australian Ninja Open only ticket guarantees you a run on Stage 1 of the Ninja Challenge League Finals course. If you finish in the top 90 competitors on Stage 1, you will join a team and you will be guaranteed a minimum of two team runs, up to a maximum of six team runs if your team makes it all the way to the championship round. More details on team selection and qualifying below.

What makes the Australian Ninja Open different from other team competitions?

What sets the ANO apart from other team ninja competitions is the way teams are formed. We’ve all been to team competitions where you show up to the event and one team is absolutely stacked with the best ninjas in the country who train together that almost always wins.

The ANO solves that problem by borrowing from a tried and true approach to parity used in most professional team sports (and fantasy sports leagues) – an athlete draft!

Instead of the signing up as a team, athletes enter the Australian Ninja Open as an individual and captains take turns picking ninja athletes to fill out their teams on the day of competition.

Using a snake draft system where the draft order reverses every round, it means if the captain chooses wisely, every team should have a fair chance at success – making for a much more fun competition.

It also means that each year of competition is unique – as teams will be different every year.

How does the relay format work?

The Relay Format sees four athletes from each team work together to defeat an eight-obstacle course.

The team captain assigns each athlete to a starting spot at the beginning of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th obstacles.

The athletes will attempt to clear their pair of obstacles in order and tag the next team member. Once an athlete tags the next competitor on their team, they cannot attempt any further obstacles.

If an athlete fails an obstacle, the next athlete in the order will have to make their way to the start of the failed obstacle from their starting platform and attempt to complete those obstacles in addition to their own until they reach the next athlete’s starting position.

If the replacement athlete also fails an obstacle, the next team member in the order attempts the obstacle until all athletes have failed an obstacle or completed the course.

Teams have to think carefully about where they place each athlete – do you put your best athlete at the end so they can bail out the rest of the team or do you put them on the obstacle they are best at regardless of where it sits on the course?

The relay format is about strategy as much as it is about strength and skill.

That all sounds a bit confusing, can I see it in action?

Absolutely! We promise it will make sense once you see it – here are some of our favourite runs from past events: 

You can also check out the Australian Ninja Open 2023 or 2021 in full:

How many rounds will there be this year?

There will be a minimum of two pool rounds for each team, followed by four rounds of team vs team elimination matches using a bracket system.

How many spots are available?

We’ve set the cap at 150 total spots across the NCL Finals and Australian Ninja Open. With 80 NCL Finals competitors confirmed, there are 70 spots available for non-Finalists.

Do I automatically get through to the Australian Ninja Open with my ticket?

No, you’ll get a chance to earn a spot in the Ninja Draft by taking on Stage One of the Ninja Challenge League Finals – whether you’re a Finalist or not.

Then how many people get through from Stage One and how many teams will there be?

A massive 90 competitors! That includes team captains and four team members for a massive 18 teams! Of the 90 total spots, 18 are reserved for team captains, with the remaining 72 for team members. That means that more than half of the maximum number of competitors will be eligible to participate in the Australian Ninja Open.

How will the captains be chosen?

Last year, we made the top-performing Young Adults from Stage One captains as it was the first year they were included as a separate division. This year, we’re making the top-performing Masters Division athletes from Stage One the team captains.

There are only 13 Masters Division aged athletes in the NCL Finals, which means as of right now they will all automatically qualify for the Australian Ninja Open as team captains.

And if you don’t mind a bit of math, that means that five more Team Captain spots are available for automatic qualification for the Australian Ninja Open.

So if you’re turning 40 this year or are older, you have a pretty good chance of automatically getting through as a team captain for the Australian Ninja Open!

What happens if there aren’t enough Masters Division competitors for each team to have a captain?

Any shortfall in Masters Division athletes will be filled by the best performing competitor born in 1985 until all gaps are filled, and then in 1986, and so on.

CONFIRMED COMPETITORS (last updated: 29/6)

2024 Australian Ninja Open competitors

2024 NCL Finals competitors

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