Competitive gel ball is a relatively new phenomenon in Australia. The Australian Gel Ball League was set up only four years ago, with other bodies representing the sport following soon after.
Even so, the competitive sport has been in the news almost continuously, for good or ill. Mainstream news channels have covered various tournaments, how the sport is an alternative to paintball and regional bans on carrying gel guns without a licence.
As of May 2023, Queensland remains the only state that doesn’t require players to carry a licence and still regards blasters as “toys.” South Australia demands licences under imitation firearms rules, and other states ban blasters outright.
With that said, the restrictions haven’t prevented the $200 million sport from flourishing. Teams across the country compete in close-action combat in arenas similar to paintball. One shot, and you’re out.
Gel Ball Tournaments And Leagues In Australia
Gel ball is a popular alternative to other sports in the category because it hurts less, making it suitable for children. It’s also cheaper than many alternatives, opening it up to more people. Players work in teams to take out opponents and “capture the flag,” similar to video games like Unreal Tournament.
In 2021, Queensland hosted the first National Gel Blasting Championship, the largest tournament of its kind in Australia. Local authorities were keen to let the sport continue, thanks to the jobs it creates and the revenues it generates. The event hosted teams from the top competitions from around Australia, many of whom were also seeking international titles.
Twelve teams got into the seeding rounds, with the top eight competitors going to the knockout stage. In the semi-finals, Valhalla’s All Stars knocked out the Sloperators, while Aussie Elite dispatched CQ All Stars. In the final, Aussie Elite was victorious after a two-game match, while CQ All Stars beat Sloperators to come in third place.
A year later, organisers hosted the second 2022 National Gel Blasting Championship. The format was the same, with teams competing in specially-designed arenas. Valhalla’s Keepers were victorious, beating G3 Ball Fondlers 21 to 13 across a three-game final. One Shot Crew were the runners-up, dispatching Crimson Raiders in a tense third-place playoff.
The Australian Gel Blaster League (AGBL) is the first of its kind in Australia and is on a mission to formalise the sport of gel blasting in the country. Organisers see it as a way to push back against draconian government regulations and get more people interested in taking part in competitive matches.
Currently, twelve teams compete in the national league. Last season the final placings were:-
- Valhalla’s Keepers
- G3 Ball Fondlers
- One Shot Crew
- Crimson Raiders
- Gel Cartel
- Kamikaze Squirrels
- Midnight Kendo
- NQ All Stars
- Australian All Stars
- Aussie Elite
- Wreck-It Crew
- Damage Cartel
Teams play successive matches against each other, picking up points for capturing the flag and taking out opponents. The 2022 league result captures the average performance of teams across a season, giving punters an insight into which teams are the strongest and perform most consistently.
In 2023, ABGL announced it would stop organising tournaments at the national level and that the Australian Regional Championships (ARC) would be taking over. While it hosts other sports, ARC is bringing together the gel ball community and has already moved forward with various competitions.
In April, the organisation hosted the Australian Regional Championships 2023. The organisers’ goal was to bring a “truly inclusive and fair, semi-only formatted comp where no business/field/team etc. had any more involvement than any other and every team was able to compete against ALL of the best to determine who was the greatest speedball team in the country,” according to their Facebook page.
The tournament was a 14-team league, with each team playing 13 matches to determine a winner. The standings at the end of the competition were as follows:-
- 1st Place: 2125 points – Valhalla's Speedsoft
- 2nd Place: 1910 points – One Shot Crew
- 3rd Place: 1835 points – The Saints
- 4th Place: 1825 points – Ghosts-Speedqb
- 5th Place: 1650 points – Midnight Kendo
- 6th Place: 1545 points – SASF - South Australian Strike Force
- 7th Place: 1460 points – Kamikaze Squirrels Gel Ball Team
- 8th Place: 1370 points – Gel Cartel Australia
- 9th Place: 1220 points – Insidious_GelBall
- 10th Place: 1115 points – Rapture
- 11th Place: 1100 points – The Fallen Gel-soft
- 12th Place: 1075 points – Yakuza Speedqb
- 13th Place: 995 points – The Risen
- 14th Place: 595 points – The Henchmen
In summary, the competitive gel ball scene in Australia continues to move forward and gain traction. The sport is attracting talent from across the country and encouraging regulators to change their stance on the industry as it becomes more popular.