Tonight on SAS Australia, the remaining eight recruits were broken, battered and running on empty when Chief Instructor Ant Middleton explained they had a “disgusting” day ahead of them.
The first test of true grit saw recruits positioned on a narrow log, suspended over a torrent of rushing water, where they had to fight it out through a series of elimination rounds, in an effort to be the last man or woman standing.
It was every recruit for themselves and, when encouraged by the DS to play dirty, both Jessica Peris and John Steffensen chose to throw a handful of dirt at their opponents to get the upper hand, these ruthless tactics later sparking a healthy debate about one’s moral code on the course.
Surviving on basic rations, Jett Kenny had been struggling to fuel his depleted body and he chose to VW, telling mum Lisa on the phone: “The biggest thing I’ve learned is not to doubt myself as much or not to set my standards so high and if I don’t achieve them then I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
“I came into this trying to find where my limit was, I wanted to see if I could break through that mental barrier, to push myself and I think I really did that. I’ll keep testing that limit and make myself either a better athlete or a better person.”
Recruits then faced a body-crushing log race, hauling a 150 kilogram log through five kilometres of unforgiving terrain to a rendezvous point high on a mountain peak, all in one hour.
Barley a kilometre into the back-breaking task, Jessica separated from the group and handed in her number, telling mum Nova on the phone: “It’s been absolutely brutal, but it’s been awesome.
“I’m happy, I’m one of the last girls so I did really well. I’m really proud of myself. Everything that I thought I couldn’t do, I did.”
Heath Shaw was next to falter in the excruciating log haul, handing in his number in a moment of weakness before being convinced to take it back.
As Ant debriefed recruits after the punishing task, an emotional Heath admitted he was empty and quit the course for good, saying: “I’m done, I’ve given my all.
“I’ve learned that when you think you’re done you can go a little bit more physically. If I could sum up my time on this course I would say it was the hardest, most uniquely positive experience I’ve had,” he reflected.