Special NCL Adult Finals Announcement

The Ninja Challenge League Adult Finals 2023 have just gotten even better with the addition of a team competition that will take place on the Sunday following the end of Stage 3.

We’ll be bringing you a modified version of the Australian Ninja Open format ahead of the full version making a return next year.

If this is the first you’ve heard of the Australian Ninja Open, we recommend checking out the explanation and footage of the previous iteration here: LINK

Briefly, the main components of the Australian Ninja Open are:

  1. a) the Ninja Draft where team captains pick teams from eligible competitors;
  2. b) the relay format where teams work together to conquer courses; and
  3. c) the blind order format where competitors attempt to outperform their opponent on a whole course to earn points for their team.

So how is it going to work at this year’s event?



While we’d love for everyone to experience the fun of the Australian Ninja Open, time constraints means we have to limit the number of competitors and teams, so athletes will need to earn their place in the competition with their performance in the Ninja Challenge League Adult Finals 2023.

Eligibility for the Australian Ninja Open will be determined by furthest fastest on Stage One only.

The team captains will be the eight Young Adult Finalists who go furthest fastest on Stage One.

The player pool will be the 32 Adult Finalists who go furthest fastest on Stage One.


The Australian Ninja Open Draft will take place on Saturday, October 7 after the conclusion of Stage One for all divisions.

The Australian Ninja Open Competition will take place on Sunday, October 8 after the conclusion of Stage Three for all age divisions.


The draft order will be in a snake format, with the order reversing after each round of picks.

This means the top Young Adult 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, a random competitor will be added to their team.

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!”


The relay format will see four athletes from each team work together to attempt 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.

Sound a bit confusing? Let me provide an example:

If Zak is at the starting line for the course and fails the 2nd obstacle, Ashlin, who is in position at the start of the 3rd obstacle, must go back to the start of the 2nd obstacle and complete the 2nd, 3rd and 4th obstacles to tag Olivia, who is in position at the start of the 5th obstacle. If Ashlin also fails on the 2nd obstacle, then Olivia would have to go back to the start of the 2nd obstacle and try to do the 2nd to 6th obstacles to tag Clem who is waiting at the start of the 7th obstacle. If Olivia failed an obstacle, Clem would have to go back to the start of the obstacle she failed and attempt all the remaining obstacles. At that point, if Clem failed, the team’s run would be over and their result would be how far Clem got on the course.

In the above example, if Zak had finished the first two obstacles and then tagged Ashlin, he wouldn’t be able to attempt any more obstacles, even if everyone else ahead of him failed.

This means 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.


The blind order format will see each of the five team members take on a whole course by themselves and attempt to record a better result than their opponent from the other team.

Before any competitor attempts the course, the team captains will submit a run order to the ANO officials showing who will run 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th – with the only rule being the captains themselves must be last in the run order.

The team with the higher seed will choose if they want to run first or second after the match-ups are revealed.

Then the 1st athlete from each team will attempt the course and whoever goes furthest fastest will earn a point for their team.

For example, Kadeem is running first for his team and records a finish in a time of 2 minutes. The first runner for the other team, Jake, records a finish in a time of 3 minutes. In this scenario, Kadeem recorded a better result than Jake, so he earns a point for his team.

This will continue for the 2nd runner from each team and so on until all team members have attempted the course.

The team with the most points after all runners have attempted the course will win the match, so a team will need at least 3 points to secure victory.


  1. Seeding Round: All teams will take on a course using the relay format above. The teams will attempt the course in reverse draft order (i.e. the team that picked last in the first round of the draft will run first in the seeding round, followed by the team that picked second-last etc). Teams will be ranked 1-8 based on their performance in the seeding round.
  2. Knockout Round: Teams will take on a single other team using the relay format above based on where they rank after the seeding round, with the higher-seeded team choosing whether it wants to run first or second:
    1. 4v5
    2. 3v6
    3. 2v7
    4. 1v8
  3. Semi-finals: The teams that win their match-up will face another winning team using the relay format above:
    1. Winner of 3v6 vs Winner of 2v7
    2. Winner of 4v5 vs Winner of 1v8
  4. The Championship Round: The teams that win their semi-final match will face another team using the blind order format above to determine the overall winner of the 2023 Australian Ninja Open.


You might be wondering how much we’re charging athletes to take part in this amazing event? The answer is… absolutely nothing! There is no extra cost beyond what has already been paid for the NCL Adult Finals – we just want you all to have lots of fun!

If you have any questions (apart from how Zak, Ashlin and Olivia all failed the 2nd obstacle in the above example), please don’t hesitate to ask.

We hope you’re excited as we are!

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