Tonight on SAS Australia, the course claimed its last casualty ahead of the final day of selection.
In the final 48 hours of SAS selection, just five recruits from the original 17 remained: Melissa, retired NRL star Darius Boyd, reality TV personality Locky Gilbert, NRLW player Millie Boyle and motorsports presenter Riana Crehan.
The first task saw them plunge into a freezing pit of ice and fight through cold water shock to answer a series of rapid-fire questions. Locky was the only recruit to fail, struggling to provide reliable information, while Melissa acknowledged that physically she has nothing left to give.
In a gut-wrenching test of emotional strength, recruits then wrote and read out their death letters – the letter military personnel write to their loved ones before heading out on operations, just in case they don’t make it back.
With the temperature dropping and the weather closing in, recruits were tethered together to take on their last challenge of the day, a package extraction through five kilometres of dense mangroves in just 45 minutes.
Becoming more fatigued by the second, Melissa struggled to keep up with her teammates, ultimately deciding to VW for the good of the group.
Congratulating the “little pocket rocket” on her efforts, Chief Instructor Ant Middleton told Melissa: “We knew you had injuries, we knew you had little niggles and you didn’t moan once. And that’s why you’re so robust and you’ll go on to do amazing things. [But] it’s okay not to always be strong, you don’t always have to be that tough person that everyone relies on you to be. It’s okay to look to your peers and look to your loved ones.”
Melissa admitted: “Before I was just a diver, an athlete and everybody saw me as that and that alone. This experience has shown me that I’m a lot more than that. Just that strength of mind, strength of body, strength of character… this experience really pulled that out of me and showed me that I can be all of those things I am as an athlete but in a completely different way and in all areas of my life.”
The final four celebrated making it to the last day of selection by sharing a bruised yet precious apple.