Stage 2 of the 2022 Australian Ninja Warrior
Stage 2 of the Grand Final is an arm burner. Not one single balance obstacle was included, only six grip destroying barriers between Ninjas and Stage 3. The Battering Ram, Thread the Needle, Barrel Roll, Air Surfer, Spin Hopper and finally, the Inverter.
Daniel Waterman has been an impressive Ninja this entire season. He’s played super well in front of the cameras and has being showing off his one-arm strength from his debut run, but that became his unfortunate downfall. Perhaps it was the overconfidence on the final obstacle in Stage 2, the Inverter, Daniel went for his almost signature move, the one-arm hang. Underestimating how much this arm-burning course had taken a toll on his grip, Waterman ended up slipping into the pool below. Absolutely stellar effort though, my dude.
Lots of Highs. Lots of Lows.
With the elation of Ninja favourites completing the gruelling course comes the devastating disappointment or some of our heros bombing out earlier than expected. Season 6 star, Ash Campbell was one such shock exit. Not realising the Battering Ram wouldn’t slide as easy as the Fighting Lyons pipe sliders, Campbell’s hands slipped off and sent Ash out of contention.
While the first obstacle took out Ash, it was the second obstacle that took a visually shattered Bryson Klein. “The pool hides the tears well” said Klein after his splash and we’re all right there with him.
And Ben Polson. Yeah this course was difficult but it is also a really good example of what makes these Ninjas so incredible. Failure can happen to anyone, at any time. Yeah it’s a test of Ninja strength and endurance but what you don’t often see is the mental training. The mental game is huge in Ninja, you need to be confident, but not too confident. You need to focus but also relax. The mind game is as tough as the course and an ever so lapse in this can end your run. I think a momentary lapse was the end of Polson’s run on the final obstacle in Stage 2.
Jake Baker has a Second Chance
Jake Baker’s first Stage 2 run ended on a reach to the last section of the Inverter. Being so close lit the flame and he knew he had the second chance up his no wet sleeves. (Actually, he wore a singlet. Maybe it was in his pocket.)
So Jake Baker, the lucky critter, got to run this tough but fun looking course again. Earning a well deserved place in Australian Ninja Warrior, Baker calmly finished the Stage 2 course on his second attempt without so much as a hiccup.
5 Ninjas Progress to Stage 3
Saxon Johnstone, Matt Bowles, Jake Baker, Ashlin Herbert and Zak Stolz all progress to Stage 3 of the 2022 Australian Ninja Warrior.
This course was another arm-burner beginning with the Criss-Cross Salmon Ladder and onto the Slingshot. Then Deja Vu and delightfully named Crazy Cliffhanger. This flowed into the Dungeon and then if Ninjas can get there, the last obstacle is the Flying Bar.
Up first was Western Australia’s Matt Bowles and was looking strong and smooth but Unfortunately couldn’t get the first bar into the cradle on Deja Vu, even with a few extra swings.
Ashlin Herbert was up next and it has been a calm and calculated Ash this year. Speed has slowed significantly opting to give each obstacle the time and respect it deserves. But we almost saw Ash fall off on Deja Vu. There’s almost no lip on the first cradle and as Ash moved onto the bar, it slipped out. Proving that panicking helps no one, Herbert reassessed and calmly placed the bar into its cradle, completing the obstacle shortly after.
But it would be Herbert’s last obstacle completion. The Crazy Cliffhanger was up next and on the final lache, Ashlin, still with unused 2nd chance card in his pocket, slipped and fell into the pool. In a cruel twist though, this currency was no use in the Stage 3 of Australian Ninja Warrior and he was sent packing.
And the Australian Ninja Warrior Winner is Zak Stolz
Three Ninjas fell on the Crazy Cliffhanger and Matt Bowles on the Deja Vu but it was Season 5’s furthest fastest, Zak Stolz who conquered the Crazy obstacle. The Dungeon is a tough obstacle on its own, let alone as the fourth in line.
When your arms are spent after a night of incredibly tough obstacles, this is the last thing you want to see. The candle sticks are spaced well when they’re hanging but those same spacings are hugely difficult when you’re trying to climb vertically up them without using your feet.
With all his energy and strength zapped away, Zak missed the catch when launching off and was into the water. But as the only Ninja to make it this far, Zak Stolz become the first in history to be crowned Furthest Fastest on Australian Ninja Warrior two years in a row.
A HUUUUUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Zak Stolz and all the Ninjas who made it to the 2022 Australian Ninja Warrior course.
See you all next year!