SAS Australia's Sam Burgess says it was 'bittersweet' winning the show

·Lifestyle Editor
·3-min read

Sam Burgess has spoken out about winning SAS Australia, calling it “bittersweet” that his fellow recruits didn’t make the final cut.

The former NRL star spoke on the Fitzy & Wippa Show about the gruelling reality TV show and how brutal it was that Olympic medallist John Steffensen and tennis legend Mark Philippoussis didn’t pass, despite completing all the challenges.

Sam Burgess on SAS Australia
Sam Burgess says it was 'bittersweet' winning SAS Australia. Photo: Channel 7

“The show was such a great experience throughout, from start to finish. The emotional ride you go on, the physical challenges but hanging onto that rope was probably the worst position for me to be in.

“It was good to finish it, I’m glad the physical pain is over and to be selected is pretty good. I felt for Marc and John because they were amazing on the course, it was a bittersweet moment, I didn’t really want to celebrate but obviously very proud.”


Sam showed his sheer determination in the last challenge, holding on with gritted teeth to the rope before Ant Middleton crowned him the winner.

"There's not many people that fit the mold. It takes a unique person to do a unique job," Ant Middleton said.

He went on to say that that's what joining the SAS is all about, "no glory, just getting the job done".

Ant Middleton and Sam Burgess
Ant Middleton is seen congratulating Sam Burgess. Photo: Channel 7
Sam Burgess, John Steffensen and Mark Philippoussis
The 32-year-old pipped John Steffensen and Mark Philippoussis to the post. Photo: Channel 7

Speaking about how defeated the other recruits who finished the course but just weren’t selected must have felt, Sam said: “No, I think they were proud to get to the end, even completing the course is a huge achievement.

“The way I’m explaining it is probably last season they would’ve made it you know but they said there was just a bit of a difference. Some things I was a bit more consistent on and for that reason, they decided to choose me. They were amazing, the Pou, what a machine and John, very tenacious dude. We’ve got a great relationship from the show. It was an awesome experience”

The 2021 recruits on SAS Australia
Jana Pittman also completed the course but didn't make it through to the selection process. Photo: Channel 7

On Monday night’s episode of the show, the recruits were tasked with writing a ‘death letter’, with the 32-year-old becoming emotional as he read out his.

Speaking about it, Sam said: “In moments of discomfort or fatigue, when you’re at the bottom of the barrel, you do find some clarity and I mean the death letter exercise was a total surprise and when I went to put pen to paper I felt a wave of emotion, so many things I wanted to say. Then reading it out loud, it killed me. I’m a big softy at heart, love my family, my kids my mum my brothers more than anything in the world, it did make me realise why do we wait to say those things, they are the most important people in our lives so we should focus all our energy and attention into that part of our lives.”

Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter .

Or if you have a story idea, email us at