- Advertisement -
Home TV Programming Seven MEET THE CAST | Everything you need to know about Seven’s SAS...

MEET THE CAST | Everything you need to know about Seven’s SAS AUSTRALIA

0
1077
SAS Australia [image - Seven]
- Advertisement -

TV Blackbox has unveiled the entire Channel 7 media kit for SAS Australia which includes course facts, an SAS handbook, the directing staff, profiles of the contestants and episode information.

INTRODUCTION

The premiere season of SAS Australia sees 17 Aussie celebrities take on one of the toughest challenges of their lives, as they attempt to conquer a series of physical and psychological tests from the real SAS selection process.

These star recruits will be cut off from the outside world at a secret base in harsh but spectacular terrain, where they will eat, sleep and train together in punishing conditions, with no allowances made for their celebrity status, age or gender.

As they’re subjected to extreme physical endurance, sleep deprivation, interrogation and psychological testing, these men and women will be pushed beyond their limits.

Putting them through the gruelling SAS course is an elite team of ex-Special Forces soldiers – Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his DS (Directing Staff) Jason “Foxy” Fox, Ollie Ollerton and Mark “Billy” Billingham from the hit UK version of the series.

- Advertisement -

SAS Australia is not a game. There is no winner; there is no prize. Most recruits will reach breaking point and withdraw. Who has what it takes to tough it out to the end?

Ali Oetjen – Bachelorette

Arabella Del Busso – Glamour Model

Candice Warner – Ironwoman

Eden Dally – Reality Star

Erin McNaught – Miss Universe Australia

Firass Dirani – Actor

Jackson Warne – Poker Player

James Magnussen – World Champion Swimmer

Merrick Watts – Comedian

Mitchell Johnson – Cricket Legend

Molly Taylor – Rally Car Champion

Nick Cummins – Rugby Union Player

Roxy Jacenko – PR Queen

Sabrina Frederick – AFLW Star

Schapelle Corby – Former Bali Inmate

Shannan Ponton – Fitness Professional

Shayna Jack – Swimming Gold Medallist

COURSE FACTS

  • Recruits enter the course with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. No personal items are allowed.
  • Recruits are issued with everything they need for the duration of the course on arrival – clothing, footwear and a full backpack, also known as their Bergen (the ‘house on your back’).
  • The Bergen contains every item recruits need to navigate and survive in the outdoors including helmet, chest harness, sleeping mat, tarp, towel, water bottle, knife, mess kit, mug, toilet roll, sanitising wipes, sunglasses, head torch, notebook, pencil, toothpaste, toothbrush, belt, armband, whistle, watch, sleeping bag, compass and two sets of kit (clothing).
  • When they enter base, recruits are issued with a number. They are no longer referred to by name – only the number on their armband.
  • Beds are simple camp cots, with one sleeping bag and an army blanket.
  • Three meals of basic food are served daily in the Mess. While some recruits were eating 4000+ calories per day during training, their intake is drastically reduced on the course – as low as 1400 calories on some days.
  • Recruits do not have access to hot water. They have to fill a bucket of cold water from a tap and carry it to the sink area – with one sink allocated to dishwashing and another to wash themselves in.
  • There are no flushing toilets. A short-drop toilet (drum and sawdust) has to be cleaned out and maintained by the recruits themselves, along with all other aspects of base maintenance.
  • The recruits have to chop their own wood and light the fires that are the only sources of heat (two pot belly stoves in the Recruit Dorm).
  • Fire is the only means of drying their clothing. With most tasks involving water, mud, sleet or snow, it is a crucial nightly ritual to dry out one set of clothes ready for the next day. Attempting to wear wet clothes in sub-zero temperatures is very dangerous.
  • Temperatures at base range from a minimum of -5°C to a maximum of 8°C.
  • The local water temperature is 4°C on average.
  • The Directing Staff, or DS, run the entire course without producer direction. No one enters the base apart from the recruits, the DS and the doctor.
  • Recruit injuries include fractured ribs, hypothermia and stitches. They get through 275 Band-Aids, 65 metres of strapping tape and 957 alcohol swabs, and require 4 MRIs.
  • During production there are over 30 explosions, 790 AK 47 blank rounds used and 22 hours of helicopter time.
  • There are 41 fixed cameras on base and 120 crew members.
  • The same Directing Staff have overseen seven seasons/recruit courses in the UK. Only 13 recruits have passed selection to date.

SAS HANDBOOK

DS – TheDS or Directing Staff are the ex-Special Forces team who direct the course (also referred to as “Staff”).

BASE – The Recruit and DS living quarters which include the Recruit Dorm, DS Dorm, Mirror Room, Prayers Room, Mess, Parade Square, Drying Room and Medic Room.

MIRROR ROOM – This is where the DS interrogate the recruits with tactical questioning (sometimes referred to as TQ’s or Interrogations).

PRAYERS ROOM – At the end of each day, the DS get together to discuss the recruits in the Prayers Room.

PARADE SQUARE – The outside space where the DS gather the recruits and brief them. Also used to exercise the recruits.

BEASTINGS – The imposition of arduous physical exercises for training or punishment, aimed at breaking or making the recruits.

TASKS – The big off base challenges the recruits must tackle, such as Heli Backwards Fall, Forward Abseil, Marksman, Pulk Pull, Murderball and Under Ice Challenge.

DETAIL – When the DS brief the recruits on their task or what they’re about to do, this is known as detail.

VW – At any time on the course the recruits can voluntarily withdraw (VW). All they need to do is hand their numbered armband into a member of the DS.

BERGEN – A type of rucksack supported by a frame, used by the military.

DS (DIRECTING STAFF)

Ant Middleton

Chief Instructor

Ant joined the Special Boat Service (SBS) in 2008 and spent four years there (the SBS is the UK’s naval Special Forces unit and the sister unit of the SAS). He was a point man/lead scout and also a primary fires operator and sniper. Prior to joining the SBS, Ant also served in the Royal Marines and 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers – meaning that he has achieved the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the UK’s Elite Forces (P Company, Commando Course, UK Special Forces Selection). Ant transferred his Special Forces skills to personal security and was selected to protect VIPs, including government officials and high-profile celebrities. He also operated as a security expert in South Africa and across various other countries for governments in West Africa. He has trained presidential security teams and also ran extreme SAS style corporate events for large companies who wanted to truly experience the extremes of Special Forces selection.

Please explain your role in the series?

As Chief Instructor I oversee the structure of the entire course whilst working closely with my fellow instructors to develop and maintain authenticity.

What are you looking for in the recruits?

An all-round balanced individual; someone who knows themselves but wants to know themselves better!

How do recruits p*ss you off?

Poor punctuality, not paying attention to detail and selfishness.

Do you ever feel bad for the recruits?

No; I don’t care if recruits pass the course – I am not there to be friends with anyone. I am there to make sure the participants overcome their fears and drive them to push themselves to develop the attributes necessary to pass the course.

How do the Aussie recruits compare to the Brits?

I was surprisingly impressed with their guts and determination in wanting to do better. The Aussies seemed like they felt they have more to prove.

What do you hope recruits get out of this experience?

Ultimately to realise what they are truly capable of. We don’t expect to change lives – that is up to them – but we want them to realise what they are capable of, what they can really achieve, and to break boundaries.

What do you love about this show?

I love being able to show people what it really takes to be an individual in the military and that it is only through hard work and suffering that you realise how resilient you are. You have a choice; you can either give up, or when hardship presents itself, you can push yourself and your capabilities far beyond your expectations of where you imagined your boundaries to be. We get to watch individuals push past those boundaries and discover where their true potential lies, and beyond – we get to see the transformation before our eyes. This is why I love the show.

Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham

Billy joined the Parachute Regiment in 1983 and served until 1991 holding an array of positions, including Patrol Commander for operational tours in multiple locations and training instructor for the Regiments as a military specialist. Billy joined the SAS in 1991 as a Mountain Troop specialist and was responsible for planning and executing strategic operations and training at the highest level in numerous locations (Iraq, Afghanistan, South America and Africa). He was awarded an MBE by the Queen for leading a hostage rescue mission and received the Queens Commendation for Bravery. Billy has also worked in private security for several A-list celebrities including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kate Moss, Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe and Clint Eastwood.

Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox

Jason is a former Royal Marine Commando and Special Forces Sergeant, who served 20 years in the military; 10 with the Special Forces in the Special Boat Service (SBS). He has planned and led operations including hostage rescue, counter terrorism, counter insurgency, maritime counter terrorism, surveillance, body guarding and counter narcotic missions. Jason is also trained as a combat swimmer, demolitions expert, Special Forces dog handler and jungle survival expert. After leaving the Special Forces, Jason moved into the television and film industry, initially using his wealth of experience in the Special Forces to support production crews who were working in environmentally hostile areas, such as the jungle, the Arctic or the desert.

Ollie Ollerton

Olliejoined the Royal Marine Commando’s aged 18 and toured operationally in Northern Ireland and Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. After five years he passed SAS selection and joined the Special Boat Service (SBS) where he underwent further training to qualify as a Special Forces Combat Frogman. During his six years in the SBS he undertook a number of high profile missions including hostage rescue, counter narcotics, counter terrorism, homeland security, counter insurgency operations and humanitarian efforts. Ollie also qualified as a pilot of the Submersible Dive Vessel (SDV), a mini sub used to insert Special Forces Combat Soldiers behind enemy lines. Ollie is CEO of BREAK-POINT, an organisation for both public and corporate that focuses on changing people’s limiting beliefs and performance.

Ali Oetjen

Age: 34

Current Hometown: Sunshine Coast

Profession: Wellness Life Coach and Influencer

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I wanted to experience where my mental and physical limits were and push past them so I could grow and build strength in a way I couldn’t any other way.

How would you describe the experience?

It was relentless! Freezing temperatures, the toughest most uncomfortable obstacles and missions that just never came to an end. Every day in there felt like three days. Fear and adrenaline pumped through my veins the entire time.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did 20kg pack walks and HIIT every day and about 3-4 weight sessions a week. I also did an hour of yoga and minimum one hour of meditation every day. My focus was to be strong in my core and my mind, and to be extremely present and connected with my spirit. My aim was to be very cardiovascular fit and be capable of carrying my pack and supplies everywhere.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

When I realised there weren’t even cold showers we could have.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

More challenging! We were subjected to testing and missions over and over again; there was no respite. It was like we were in a tumble dryer and we didn’t come out.

Did anything surprise you?

Yes, how kind-hearted and supportive the DS were. I thought I would only see their ‘nasty, shouting, un-empathetic army men’ personalities and that would be hard to connect with. However, within a short amount of time their full personalities were visible and the family man, the spiritual man, the supporter and the strong warrior man stood before us.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Yes, it will help me help others to realise their potential and power. In my life coaching and wellness retreats, releasing limiting beliefs and fears is huge.

Would you ever do it again?

I’ve thought long and hard about this. When I think about the cold I think no, however I’d LOVE to do this again as my limits are there to be pushed and from every experience I’m growing, so I’d love to know what I know now and implement it into the training again.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes, it tests all physical, emotional and mental aspects and they exhaust you in every way to see if, and how, you can come out alive.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

You can train, however nothing can prepare you for the cold and the gruesome realness and rawness of what it takes to be an SAS soldier.

Arabella Del Busso

Age: 30

Current Hometown: Melbourne

Profession: Glamour Model

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To prove to myself that I am stronger than I think, both mentally and physically, and to show myself that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. 

How would you describe the experience?

Very rewarding and eye opening to not only parts of myself and to how I approach things, but also to just how hard working those in the SAS are.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

Training was difficult due to the Melbourne lockdown so no indoor or outdoor gyms were open and I couldn’t travel far from home for exercise which made long hikes and carrying weighted backpacks impossible. I focused on doing what I could which included a lot of cardio, weight training and wearing a weight vest where possible.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

When we arrived at base and I saw the stretchers we would be sleeping on and realised there were no showers – only a pig’s trough with a litre of water in it to either wash yourself or wring your hands with.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

More challenging! Whilst I knew and fully expected it to be a challenging experience, I didn‘t fully realise just how gruelling it would be.

Did anything surprise you?

I’d prepared myself for rations and resources that were far from luxurious, however I was surprised at having to wear soaking wet clothes for the majority of the time. In hindsight it makes sense and isn’t all that surprising but at the time it definitely stood out to me.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

I will take from it to never take life for granted, to always appreciate each day I wake up and to f**k the haters.

Would you ever do it again?

Yes, if I was given the chance to and with more time to train.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Completely. You get pushed, not only physically but mentally, beyond your limits to the point where a person’s true self is revealed.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?  Just keep telling yourself it’s short term pain for a long term gain.

Candice Warner

Age: 35

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Mum and Wife

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To show my daughters that mummy is pretty capable of some cool stuff and that daddy isn’t the only one that can do things. And secondly to show people what my family and husband are made of.

How would you describe the experience?

SAS Australia was the most life changing experience I could have ever imagined. To begin with I thought it would be the physical challenges that would be the toughest to deal with. In the end it was the most mundane exercises that would test my character. Packing a Bergen each day sounds like an easy task but believe me it’s much harder than it looks. Drying your wet kit after every exercise was horrendous. All in all it was a true test. I loved it!!

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I mainly concentrated on building my physical strength. I had a baby a little over 12 months ago. In my pregnancy I lost all my core strength and struggled to do one pull-up or push-up after giving birth. I knew I needed to work on that so I went hard in the gym. I also ran a lot and tried walking once a week with a 25kg pack on.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

From the get-go. There was no smiling and no bullshit. It is very serious for the DS.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

Much more challenging. I didn’t anticipate how cold it would be and how wet we would constantly be.

Did anything surprise you?

Yes, no showers. I thought maybe we would get cold showers at least. We smelt so bad.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Time management and an appreciation for the little things.

Would you ever do it again?

Mmmmm, not sure.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Absolutely. The men and women in the Special Forces are something else. They don’t call it special for no reason.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?  Start training now and get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Eden Dally

Age: 28

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Correctional Officer/Personal Trainer

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To get to feel what my grandfather went through. I have always thought about joining the army and wanted to see what it would be like.

How would you describe the experience?

It was a great experience and a real eye opener and taught me a few lessons.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did a lot of cardio, hiking and 7km runs every day. I cut down doing any weight training to get better cardio and not carry so much weight. My training included squats, burpee box jumps, squat jump, lunges and sprint training.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

When we had to jump out of the helicopter into the water, swim back to shore, sleep on the ground, never shower and it’s always cold… that’s when I thought ‘bloody hell’.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

It was very challenging, every task we did was hard. I was in awe of the men in the Special Forces, I felt like a boy and they were the men.

Did anything surprise you?

Yes, the cold. It was hard to focus because it was so incredibly cold.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Yes, how easy we all really have it. I will never complain about things being hard again. 

Would you ever do it again?

Yes, I would love to. I’d know what I’d be in for and would prepare totally differently. It’s all in the mind. I have learned so much from Ant Middleton.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

110 percent! The living conditions were tough, plus not knowing when you’re going to be woken up to train or to do a challenge. Jumping from a helicopter was an amazing experience though.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

Train your brain first, then your body.

Erin McNaught

Age: 38

Current Hometown: Brisbane

Profession: Model and Mum

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

For two reasons. The first reason was because I feel like I’ve led a very lucky, privileged life, having never experienced severe hardship or tragedy, and that’s partly due to the sacrifices our war veterans made for our freedom. I felt it was important to experience some of the suffering they endured in order to understand what they went through. The second reason was to show my boys that women/mums can do anything they put their minds to so that hopefully they form relationships with girls/women based on strength of character

How would you describe the experience?

Simultaneously the most incredible yet harrowing experience of my life.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I knew that the course would involve a lot of heavy carries, as ammo/equipment/fuel resupply missions are extremely important in the military, so I did a lot of strongman training to build both my upper body strength and leg strength. Endurance is the other key element, so I did pack marches (running with a weighted backpack) twice a week.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

The first few moments after the first helicopter fall. I was seeing stars and my whole face was numb from hitting the water so hard. I came up gasping and tried to speak; there was only the cameraman there a few metres away and he was just blank – no hint of emotion on his face. I thought someone would at least ask me if I was ok but there was just nothing! It was at that point I realised it was all up to me.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

I’d watched every season of the UK show so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. It was every bit as hard as I thought it would be!

Did anything surprise you?

I was surprised at just how far you can push the human body. I’ve thought in the past that I had reached my physical limit, yet during the course I realised I had never really even been close! When your mind is strong, your body becomes almost unstoppable.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

The ability to not get offended when being criticised, the knowledge that I am more capable than I ever knew, and the strong sense of self are the most impactful revelations for me. I hope I can instil these thought processes into my boys too.

Would you ever do it again?

I would do it again in a heartbeat!

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

It’s certainly the toughest test I’ve ever undertaken. No amount of training can prepare you for it.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?  If you’re prepared to suck it up and let go of any insecurities, be open to criticism and not take anything personally, then the sense of achievement and satisfaction you feel during the course is on another level. You’ll feel the lowest of lows but the highest of highs and that is the ultimate pursuit as a human being. Well, for some of us, anyway!

Firass Dirani

Age: 37

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Actor

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To test my Duendè. My Qalb. My heart. My resilience.

How would you describe the experience?

Euphoric masochism.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I put myself through regimented training for it. Everything from calisthenics to weighted 3am runs.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

When the DS put me in the water for 10-12 minutes alone as punishment. I thought this is exactly what I was after, no short cuts.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

Definitely more challenging. It was one of the best surprises. But then my mind and body adjusted.

Did anything surprise you?

Tough blokes were losing their memory in front of me. Some couldn’t use their hands. And some lost their minds. Mental strength is everything in this world.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Absolutely. Regiment, routine and protocol are fundamental to achieving goals in life.

Would you ever do it again?

Absolutely.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

I wanted to get punished, and that’s exactly what I manifested.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

Do it! Best thing you will do but be ready.

Jackson Warne

Age: 21

Current Hometown: Melbourne

Profession: Poker Player

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To test myself physically and mentally. 

How would you describe the experience?

Life-changing. I learnt so much about myself and to never take anything for granted again. I also learnt to appreciate the little things like family, food and water. 

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I watched the other SAS series and did weights training, walks and runs with weighted backpacks, took cold showers and meditated. 

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

I knew it was going to be real before Day 1.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

A quote I live by is ‘have no expectations and you will never be disappointed’. The emotions and feelings the course made me feel were struggle, never give up and a sense of accomplishment and happiness. 

Did anything surprise you?

How tough all the female recruits were. 

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Time management skills and to appreciate family, friends, food, water and sleep.

Would you ever do it again?

Not sure.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes, it pushes you to your absolute limits and forces you to improve in every way and to have full concentration 100% of the time.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?  Be prepared and don’t get overwhelmed. Take a step by step attitude. 

James Magnussen

Age: 29

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Former World Champion Swimmer/Business Owner/Swim Coach

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I was really looking for a big challenge post my professional swimming career. Whilst I felt I was still young and fit both mentally and physically, this was a great opportunity and it gave me something to prepare for.

How would you describe the experience?

It was definitely a greater test that I expected. The levels of discomfort, cold, hunger and sleep deprivation are elements that I couldn’t fully prepare for. I found the physical aspects and challenges of the course very rewarding. As I reflect back on the experience I do so fondly and with a great sense of achievement and pride.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did a mix of CrossFit based training, strongman training, extended runs and training with weighted vests and packs. I also looked at the UK series and attempted to match my physical and mental preparations to what I observed there. I had to put time and energy into converting from a water-based athlete to a land-based athlete in as short a time frame as possible. I also used iced baths to attempt to acclimatise to cold conditions but even that could not prepare me for what was to come.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

Waking up Day 2 having not slept and with no showers it really sunk in that there would be no backing off at any stage of the course. It was going to be completely intense.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

Much more challenging for sure. I had not interpreted the British version as well as I could have. I don’t feel you could prepare adequately for the deprivations eg, no showers were a challenge for me as someone who likes to be clean and have a good order of things. These were unexpected challenges.

Did anything surprise you?

The conditions, from weather (snowing, blizzarding) to the variety (mountains one day, beach the next). And the DS’ ability to switch into ‘solider mode’ was a real eye opener. The fact that it really is a mode, a psyche that these guys need to be able to come in and out of almost instantaneously, was a really interesting observation for me.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

The DS’ ethos/teachings were around the people you choose to associate with and whether they help or hinder you in your life. Be rigid with who you allow in your circle. Showing emotion, allowing yourself to be vulnerable to have more meaningful experiences, change some of the thinking in life, how to not be a professional person always and shift into a civilian type philosophy, live life differently.

Would you ever do it again?

Probably not. It was a very full experience that I would never want to take back. But the physical and mental toll was extreme so I’m glad to be through it. Never say never though!

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

SAS was the toughest thing I have ever done. The deprivation of basic human comforts was very new and challenging and the limits to which we were pushed physically is just unrivalled. 

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

Definitely do it but give yourself at least three months to prepare. Be fully committed mentally, don’t take it lightly, it’s not a game show! Watch previous seasons.

Merrick Watts

Age: 46

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Comedian

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

Since I was a boy I’ve been fascinated by the SAS. The first book I ever read voluntarily was about the SAS. I wanted to know if I had in me ‘The Right Stuff’.

How would you describe the experience?

Life changing. Possibly the most rewarding and enlightening thing I have ever accomplished.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I trained entirely on my own based on military style training patterns. I did strength and cardio as well as HIIT, but I focused on lots of endurance training – like six hour pack marches with 40kg in my pack. I also did extensive cold water training, culminating in a 24 minute ice bath (9 mins above advised maximum) to immerse myself in the pain and discomfort of the weather and cold conditions I knew we would face.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

When I fractured two ribs and there were only two options – quit or crack on without pain killers. I chose the latter.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

It was of course more challenging but even that was expected. It’s the lack of down time, lack of warm water, the lack of tea even that you don’t think about until you are in it.

Did anything surprise you?

How quickly I was able to adapt mentally and physically.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

So much! Confidence, decision making, ability to balance my emotions and behaviour, ability to adjust and respond under pressure. Being able to read people and know when to comfort or confront. Leadership and what it really looks like. I have soooo much to be grateful for.

Would you ever do it again?

No.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

I can’t imagine there being a harder test. This is not a game, it’s not even a tv show. It is life or death at times and the risks are real.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

Think about why you want to do it and if it is money or fame or just another physical challenge, that will probably not be enough to take you all the way. Search deeply for a reason that is so strong that it can defeat any challenge you face. If you have that reason, attempt selection.

Nick Cummins

Age: 33

Current Hometown: Gold Coast

Profession: Rugby Player and Adventurer

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

Because I love a challenge and wanted to bullet proof myself for life.

How would you describe the experience?

It was a definitely a challenging experience. Every aspect forced me to explore my limits and discover new levels of resilience.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did a lot of conditioning combined with a little bit of strength work but was mostly focusing on endurance training. I also practiced my mindfulness, so I was ready to fully commit myself to the challenges of the course.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

Day 2! When I submitted requests to the DS who would laugh at them and walk away.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

The experience was more challenging than I was expecting. Sustaining energy and focus was really challenging because every task required an extreme level of toughness.

Did anything surprise you?

The fitness and mindset of the DS was surprising and very impressive.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Resilience, leadership, a new understanding of my own capabilities and knowing we grow through what we go through.

Would you ever do it again?

It was an unreal experience, but probably not. If there was a whole new level of toughness, I’d be tempted to challenge myself again but no, I won’t be rushing back anytime soon.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

It’s definitely the toughest test I’ve faced because it challenges every part of who we are!

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

I’d say that SAS Australia will be some of the best personal development you’ll have the opportunity of experiencing in your lifetime.

Roxy Jacenko

Age: 40

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Entrepreneur

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I wanted the challenge and to be taken out of the environment I am used to, where I am always in control and making the calls. I wanted someone else to run the show!

How would you describe the experience?

Disappointing, depressing and shocking!

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

Strength, conditioning and pack walks six days a week.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

When I stood as recruit No.1 on the ledge of the chopper and had to fall backwards into the water!

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

It was very challenging for me. Having fractured my hip and pelvis six weeks before departure for filming was a disaster. It meant my six day a week training regime was halted immediately after putting six months into it.

Did anything surprise you?

How real it was. No producers, just the DS – and they weren’t there to do anything but the job. A very different and real reality experience to what I had expected.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

That I am not heading to the SAS anytime soon!! But in reality, that without your health you’re no good to anyone, so for me now the focus is the time to actually fully heal.

Would you ever do it again?

Yes, if I was in perfect condition.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

I agree 100%. I had hidden my concealer in my radio pack. Let it be known it was certainly not going to be needed. This was no reality show – this was a show like no other!

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

Train hard, know that it’s going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do and you will not expect what is thrown at you.

Sabrina Frederick

Age: 23

Current Hometown: Melbourne

Profession: AFLW Player (Richmond)

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I wanted to see if I could pass selection and see how far I could really push myself.

How would you describe the experience?

It’s the toughest thing I have ever done, physically, emotionally and mentally, but also one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learnt a lot about myself and what matters to me whilst seeing how far I can really push myself.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

Other than my regular training I do for football, I ran treks with a weight vest and the SAS boots, and did a hell of a lot of military push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

Day 1, Task 1. Right from when we started it hits you.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

More challenging in the sense that it’s the layers of challenges throughout the whole experience, not just the individual tasks, and having to adapt and deal under extreme circumstances. I don’t think there was anything I could’ve done to prepare me for the whole concept.

Did anything surprise you?

Yeah, I did not realise how much of an emotional rollercoaster you would go on.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Yes absolutely. Being a sportsperson in an elite environment you can take so many things across like discipline and self-belief but also keeping things simple and getting rid of distractions.

Would you ever do it again?

Although I am so glad I got the opportunity, I am still human and it was bloody tough so it would depend on what day I got asked.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Completely. It is not just the physical exercises but the whole environment – weather, food, clothes, everything. You can never be too comfortable.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

Be open-minded, embrace and lean into the full experience, prepare as much as you can physically and mentally but also be realistic in knowing this course is not for many people. Don’t let your ego get in the way.

Mitchell Johnson

Age: 38

Current Hometown: Perth

Profession: Ex-Cricketer / Self-Employed

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I wanted to get a taste of what Special Forces soldiers go through in selection.

How would you describe the experience?

Many mixed emotions but overall an experience I’m grateful for.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I had a program from The Mill Gym which is owned and run by ex-Special Forces. The training was a lot of volume, a lot of running with weight vest and rucking.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

During the shooting task.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

I knew it was going to be the toughest thing I’d ever experienced but it blew me away for sure. The mental and emotional side of it wasn’t what I was expecting, even though I had been given advice to be ready for it.

Did anything surprise you?

I was surprised at some of the other recruits who showed some great resilience.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Live the simple life. Be in your own space and community, help others where you can and enjoy the great things we have in front of us.

Would you ever do it again?

No. If I was a young man in my prime, in a different time of my life, then yes but I’m happy to move forward from this amazing experience.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes. While you need some physical attributes, it’s the mental, emotional battles within yourself and fears you may have that are tested to the nth degree

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?  Do it! It’s an experience that will challenge you and you will learn things about yourself that no one can tell you about.

Molly Taylor

Age: 32

Current Hometown: Melbourne

Profession: Rally Driver

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

It appealed to me because I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not many people would ever get the chance to do. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t jump at it. I was hoping that I would come out the other side changed for the better and I feel like I achieved that.

How would you describe the experience?

It was the hardest but most life changing experience I’ve had. I always thought I was good at pushing myself outside my comfort zone, but this was on a scale like nothing else. It forced me to go to places I’ve never been and as a result I’ve grown more than I thought possible.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I was training for about 10-11 hours per week doing a combination of gym strength work, running and pack marching.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

From the very beginning! We knew we were in for a tough time, but that first dive into the water was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I think it’s hard to truly prepare for something like that.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

It was a lot more challenging. I knew it would be tough, but I don’t know how you could anticipate just what it was actually going to be like.

Did anything surprise you?

Probably just how much it hurt!

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

So many things! The fundamental principles the course is based on apply in so many life scenarios and give you the tools to approach these situations better. Most importantly, the focus on consistently getting the basics right and learning to take each situation as it comes makes you better prepared to attack the important things in life and not get caught up in all the white noise and things you can’t control.

Would you ever do it again?

Probably not. I think it was an important thing for me to do, but now I’ve done it, I think I have taken what I need from the experience.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

I completely agree. It’s hard to comprehend unless you go through it, then you understand why they say that!

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

I would say absolutely go for it but be prepared to suffer more than you expect and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Schapelle Corby

Age: 43

Current Hometown: Brisbane

Profession: Epoxy Resin Artist

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

As soon as the show was shown to me, I knew I had to take part. The whole concept hooked me in – NO name, NO makeup! In society we put so much emphasis on the outer appearance whereas in SAS we are stripped back to essentially the core of our inner makeup. Also, I wanted to see for myself that I am in control of my own mind. That was very important to me.

How would you describe the experience?

Gruelling and brutal as it was, there’s nothing else like this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m so glad I did it and am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort bubble.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

High intensity cardio, resistance training and jogging five days per week, plus a PT two times per week.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

On the first day after the helicopter fall, army crawling on our stomachs through the mudflats, I was watching the ends of my plaited hair slide through the mud thinking ‘good god, it’s started, I’m here, this is real’.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

On a whole it was as hard as I was anticipating in terms of the cold, the minimal living, the food rations etc. But running with a 20kg backpack was more challenging than I could have ever imagined.

Did anything surprise you?

The actual weight of the 20kg military backpack. Also how welcoming the recruits were of me and how supportive/encouraging they were toward my fitness level.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

More adventurous activities! I’d like to make abseiling my new hobby. Upping my fitness level is going to be more of a priority in my life. Also reconnecting and making time for friends.

Would you ever do it again?

Absolutely yes!

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes! I’ve never pushed myself physically to this extent.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

On top of cardio and weights, my advice would be to invest in the same military backpack used in the course, fill it with 20kg of sand and train rain, hail or shine.

Shannan Ponton

Age: 46

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Fitness Professional/Presenter

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

Three reasons – I wanted to show my kids the power of the human spirit and be a role model; my father is a proud Vietnam Veteran and I wanted to experience a snippet of what it takes to be a soldier, as a mark of respect to him; and finally as a trainer I’m forever pushing my clients way beyond their perceived personal limitations. I wanted to know if I still had ‘it’ – that ability to push past what’s reasonably assumed to be enough, to go further and be unbreakable in the face of adversity and stay true to the courage of your convictions under duress.

How would you describe the experience?

After having my liberties deprived and being tested beyond my perceived limitations daily, I was confronted by who I genuinely am in a primal state, a pure version, free of pretence and ‘keeping face’. It was liberating and exhilarating!

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I had to place specific training on top of the physical load I was already performing as a Personal Trainer. Daily I was performing 50-100 squats, push-ups and sit-ups. Twice per week I did repeat hill sprints and general conditioning. I changed my weight training into a circuit format. That was the physical but far more gruelling was the mental practice. I had to overcome massive anxiety linked to breathing and claustrophobia. We practiced breath holds on land and in water, swum with our hands bound, tried stress positions, ran blindfolded, surfed and swum without a wetsuit, anything I could think of to get ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

It was abundantly clear from the moment we stepped onto base it was going to be harsh.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

The experience exceeded my expectations in harshness and relentlessness. At any stage I expected a TV producer to step in and ensure the camera angles were locked off and necessary content covered and maybe just check in and ensure the comfort, wellness and safety of the recruits. It wasn’t to be… EVER!

Did anything surprise you?

There was no differentiation between male and female recruits, at all. The girls carried the same weight in their packs and received no dispensation in any of the challenges or tasks. Not that any asked for it. We were blessed with an amazing group of empowered, resilient ladies who were an inspiration to me.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

Many of the lessons and perceptions we gained from the DS will stay with me for life. How to flick the switch of aggression/speed/power/concentration on and off when necessary to conserve energy. How to perceive life’s challenges, adversity, beauty and setbacks and use them to complete your mission.

Would you ever do it again?

Hell NO! Maybe. Yes, but only in summer.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes. There is no respite, every minute is relentless and there is absolutely nowhere to hide. The DS are experts in detecting and exposing weakness, lies and false fronts. If you a pretender of any magnitude you will be exposed for what or who you truly are.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?  Watch previous seasons and then train specifically for each task! Get real. You’ll need to drop the bullshit and understand who you really are, in a primal state, implicitly.

Shayna Jack

Age: 21

Current Hometown: Brisbane

Profession: Swimmer

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

My whole life all I have ever done is swim. I always based every decision around the fact I would need to be able to show up the following day for training, so this meant not putting myself in uncomfortable situations or situations that could result in an injury. I made the decision to give this show a go and have no regrets about challenging myself and trying new experiences.

How would you describe the experience?

Unforgettable, life changing and an experience like no other. It pushes you out of your comfort zone in every way possible, as well as testing your ability to push through that discomfort. As the DS would say, we had to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did a lot of pack walking to ensure I could hold weight on my shoulders for long periods of time. I also did boxing for fitness and bike rides to help build endurance in my legs. I cannot run very well and always get shin splints, so I needed to build up my legs in other ways.

At what point did it hit home that this process was 100% real?

Day 1, as soon as we arrived and started doing push-ups.

Was the experience more or less challenging than you expected?

It was more challenging than I expected because even watching the UK seasons doesn’t prepare you for all the in-between physically and emotionally draining aspects.

Did anything surprise you?

I surprised myself with how calm I was in all the fear challenges.

Are there any learnings from the course you will take into your real life?

The DS would relate every part of this process to real life so I will take away every challenge and every lesson learnt and apply it to my life.

Would you ever do it again?

No.

They call it the toughest test. Do you agree?

100% because they’re not asking you to do one thing out of your comfort zone. They’re putting you in a situation that no one could really prepare for, in an environment that no one knows about.

What would you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season? 

Be ready for the unexpected and get your mind ready.

EPISODES

EP 1 – CHARACTER

17 celebrities undertake a series of extreme and pressurised tasks, including jumping backwards out of a helicopter and hand to hand combat against their fellow recruits, as they begin the challenge of completing the gruelling SAS selection course.

EP 2 – FEAR

Recruits are pushed to tackle their fears head on in a 60m high forward abseil, while a brutal game of murderball on a black mud plain leaves one recruit with a near concussion.

EP 3 – MINDSET

In an abandoned abattoir, recruits face a life or death decision before they are drilled physically into the early hours of the morning. Will they bow out from exhaustion or find the true grit needed to carry on?

EP 4 –TEAMWORK

In freezing waters with plummeting body temperatures, recruits wait to be rescued by their teammates before they face a test of pure grunt and teamwork. And an emotional departure surprises the entire group.

EP 5 – RESILIENCE

In a punishing day, recruits crawl across a jagged ravine on a single rope above the ocean; are submerged in crashing, cold surf; and face a physical drilling that leaves them on the brink of collapse.

EP 6 – FOCUS

The fatigued recruits drop from a helicopter into 4°C water carrying 20kg backpacks, before making their way to shore as a group then racing to the top of a mountain. Dripping wet and being lashed with 60km/h winds leaves one recruit in a hypothermic state.

EP 7 – PRESSURE

Armed with rifles, recruits are tasked with a hostage rescue mission, before taking on their most dangerous task yet in near freezing water.

EP 8 – STRENGTH

Recruits are brutally awoken by the sound of gun fire and a botched rescue attempt unfolds. Messages from home test the recruits’ emotional resolve while a relentless pack march takes its toll.

EP 9 – TRUST

In a dangerous backward fall, the life of the jumper is in the hands of a fellow recruit. During an honesty test, some gobsmacking truths are shared. And a simple mistake results in a serious injury.

EP 10 – DETERMINATION

Recruits race up a snow-covered mountain dragging a 60kg sled. Exhausted, they must then swim under ice, battling hypothermic conditions, only to discover the weakest will be sent home.

EP 11 – SURVIVAL

In a daunting challenge, recruits are tasked with rescuing a downed pilot. As bombs explode and guns fire, they must make the right decision amidst the mayhem. After a brutal combat course, an explosion on base has an unexpected outcome.

EP 12 – COURAGE

Recruits are chased overland in near freezing temperatures. Once captured, they face intense interrogation before they attempt the final phase of the course, a series of brutal physical tasks called The Sickener, designed to push them over the edge. Who will prove worthy of passing SAS selection?

SAS Australia premieres next Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 7

- Advertisement -

NO COMMENTS

We Want To Hear From You