SAS Australia 2023: Two recruits pass selection after 10 days in the desert

SAS Australia 2023 winners

“I am just so elated”

On Seven‘s SAS Australia, after completing the 10-day desert course, actor Tim Robards and former Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham passed selection.

See Also: SAS Australia 2023 Recap — Season Finale: Only two Recruits make selection during brutal last mission

The four remaining recruits – Tim, Matthew, Abbey Holmes and Dr Craig Challen – were challenged with a three-phase final mission to test their psychological and physical capabilities, with the DS wanting to determine who was worthy of selection.

Phase one saw the recruits woken by stun grenades before being hooded and held captive by the DS for two hours and forced to film a death message to their loved ones without showing any emotion.

Tim and Craig controlled their emotions to pass phase one, while Abbey and Matthew failed after becoming overwhelmed and bursting into tears.

Phase two was a physical test, a five-kilometre run carrying their bergens before a 150-metre-high cliff assault with a vertical ascent to the summit.

With phase two of the final mission completed, the DS delivered the news that one recruit would be culled, missing out on final selection. After deliberating, the DS announced Abbey would not be progressing to selection.

Abbey said: “I’m very disappointed not to get to the end, but what this experience has shown me is that your mind and your body are capable of so much more. I know that I’ve pushed as hard as I possibly could. I’ve been lucky enough to really learn a lot about myself, and I’ve learned not to chase perfection.”

With Abbey gone, the three remaining recruits entered the third phase of the final mission, a hostage rescue.

The recruits were charged with avoiding detection while clearing buildings to find two hostages held in separate locations and transport them to the safety of the extraction vehicle.

Having saved the hostages and escaped to safety, Tim, Matthew and Craig had completed the third phase of their mission and the SAS Australia course.

After deliberation, DS Ant Middleton announced that Tim and Matthew had passed selection.

The decision meant hat Tim had equalled his wife’s (Anna Heinrich) performance on the course in 2022.

“I’m so happy. It’s shown what strength I’ve got inside. I probably doubted that a lot. Now I’m getting teary…” Tim said.

“It was hard work. So many times you just want to stop, and you want to quit, and you’ve just gotta keep pushing and pushing. I can’t wait to call my wife and tell her that I made it.”

Matt was also pleased to have passed selection. “I am just so elated,” he said. “This has been the best experience of my entire life. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude.

“I did come in as a survivor and I have definitely thrived throughout this course. I was controlled by my inner saboteur before. But now I feel capable of doing basically anything.”

SAS Australia is produced by Screentime, a Banijay Group company, based on a Minnow Films format. 

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