SAS Australia final: Shock twist as winner announced

After 10 grueling episodes where some of the country’s most controversial stars were stretched to their physical and mental limits, the SAS Australia winners have finally been announced.

On Wednesday night’s episode of the Channel 7 show, Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham and reality TV star Tim Robards made the cut, while Thai cave rescuer Craig Challen, despite making it to the end of the course, did not make the cut.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: SAS Australia instructors evaluate the final three competitors.

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Earlier in the episode, Channel 7 commentator and AFLW legend Abbey Holmes was kicked off the course after falling behind in a grueling challenge.

The decision to skip Mitchum and Robards may come as a shock to many viewers, given that SAS chief instructor Ant Middleton and his special forces team almost wrote off the final three contestants in the early days of the series.

But on Wednesday night’s episode, Ant and SAS instructors Olly, Staz and Jay recognized the incredible turnaround of the final three candidates.

While discussing former Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham, they said the gold medalist has come a long way.

“I mean at first he was afraid of aggression, he was afraid of himself,” Ant said.

SAS Chief Instructor Ant Middleton discusses the final three candidates. credit: Seven

“He was afraid of everything that was put in front of him. And talk about someone who grew the most during the course.

He added: “So for me, I’ll definitely have him on my team.”

Ant then moved on to Robards – known as Number 14 on the show – saying he was surprised at how far he had come.

“At first I thought No. 14 was, you know, all muscle,” he said.

“No guts, his thinking was a little weak, but just today in the hostage rescue, great leadership.

“He realized what he was capable of, self-belief appeared.

“He just needed a little self-belief. But I truly believe he found it here.

SAS Australia stars Craig Challen, Tim Robards and Matthew Mitcham. credit: Seven

Afterwards, SAS instructors said they were amazed at how far Thai cave diving hero Challen, 58, had come on the show.

“But with everything else, given his age, it’s a huge effort,” said SAS instructor Jay.

Ant added: “Yeah, he’s got so much life experience. He has been through so much himself.

“He is a national hero. He’s almost so humble that we thought, oh, he’s in first gear.

“But he kind of grew up on the course.

“He embraced everything that was in front of him and talked about staying on the learning curve, you know.”

“You have shown your worth”

Announcing his decision at the end of the show, Ant said: “All three of you have shown your worth.”

“You all deserve to be here,” he added.

“But today was all about the last 10 days, everything we said and did on the course.

“The election has a 97 percent failure rate.

“This is the toughest military test in the world.

“For the first time, we were split on our decisions about who would take this course.”

Dr. Craig Challen. credit: Remko Jansen/Seven

Ant continued by noting that the recruiting team had to ask themselves one major question: Can we have you on our team on the battlefield?

Learning he made it to the end of the course but didn’t make a choice, Challen said he was disappointed.

“To get this far and then not go through, disappointing to say the least,” he admitted.

“But I’m ecstatic about going all the way.”

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