Reality TV

How Anna Heinrich, Melissa Wu and three other women just made SAS Australia history

So what does it mean for the show?
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For the first time in SAS Australia history, we’ve made it to the show’s halfway point with more women than men still competing in the brutal course, and it looks like many of them are in it for the long haul.

Following Barry Hall’s voluntary withdrawal in episode seven, only four men remain: former NRL player Darius Boyd, Olympian Geoff Huegill, reality TV star Locky Gilbert and comedian Pauly Fenech.

Meanwhile, a whopping five women are still fighting to pass the gruelling military course: reality TV star Anna Heinrich, boxer Ebanie Bridges, Olympian Melissa Wu, motorsports presenter Riana Crehan and NRLW player Millie Boyle.

For the first time in SAS Australia history women outnumber men at the halfway point.

(Image: Channel Seven)

It’s a huge achievement for the women, who represent an exciting shift for SAS, which has so often been dominated by its male contestants.

Women initially outnumbered men in the show’s first Australian season, with nine female stars and eight male celebs signing on for the brutal military-style challenge; but the show took its toll quickly.

Three women withdrew in the first two episodes alone and by the halfway point only four of the original nine remained, compared to six male recruits who were still in the game.

Rally car driver Molly Taylor and AFLW player Sabrina Frederick were the only two women to make it to the end, with the latter even becoming the first woman to pass selection on SAS Australia.

WATCH: Meet motorsports presenter Riana Crehan on SAS Australia. Story continues after video.

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However things only seemed to get worse for the women who signed up for the show’s 2021 season.

In season two the recruits were split evenly, with nine men and women, though the blokes quickly outnumbered their female counterparts when the course got rough.

By the end of episode six there were only three women remaining in the course; Isabelle Cornish, Jessica Peris and Jana Pittman, the latter of whom was the only woman to make it to the final episode, where she was eliminated.

Despite passing one of the season’s final mission challenges, Jana was eliminated by the DS, sparking outrage among diehard SAS Australia fans.

The women on the course this year have plenty to prove.

(Image: Channel Seven)

“Of course disappointed not to finish the last task. In hindsight wish I had tried to bargain with @antmiddleton to let me continue and not take my number,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.

“Not sure what he would have said but I was definitely blowing a gasket! Would have loved to have tried the rope hang.”

Frustrated fans couldn’t understand why “super mum” Jana had been eliminated despite successfully completing the challenge, with several taking issue with Ant Middleton telling her the decision was due in part to the fact “[her] reserve is empty”.

Some questioned if Jana’s elimination was to do with her gender, though there was little evidence to suggest this was the case.

Anna Heinrich is one of the women set to go far this season.

(Image: Channel Seven)

Now, season three has shown that the women aren’t here to mess around, making it through brutal challenges that caused several of their male counterparts to back out of the course.

Five men have already quit, with Barry Hall, Wayne Carey and Michael Serafa pulling out for medical reasons, while Orpheus Pledger voluntarily withdrew and Richard Buttrose was even culled.

Meanwhile, only three women – Melissa Tkautz, Simone Holtznagel and Ellia Green – have called it quits so far, leaving five still in the course alongside the four remaining blokes.

And we have a feeling a few of the ladies are going to go all the way this year.

Anna Heinrich has already proved herself in countless challenges, catching the eye of several DS who have mentioned she’s a major player as the course reaches the pointy end.

Meanwhile, athletes Melissa Wu and Millie Boyle have stood out to the DS for their incredible physicality and determination, and we have no doubt Ebanie Bridges and Riana Crehan still have plenty to prove.

With just a few weeks remaining before the thrilling finale, there’s no doubt in our minds that several of these women will be facing down the final challenges when they arrive.

And we even have a sneaking suspicion that the ladies are going to outnumber the men all the way to the end – though we’ll just have to keep watching to see if we’re right.

Want all the details on the latest season of SAS: Australia? Check out these stories:

A former Bachelor, a convicted drug dealer and a model: The cast for the third season of SAS Australia is revealed

Is SAS Australia really “as fake as MAFS”? Here’s the truth

The most brutal injuries in SAS Australia history

Do we already know who wins SAS Australia 2022?

Where is SAS Australia filmed? Inside the brutal location

Who is SAS Australia’s ruthless leader Ant Middleton?

SAS Australia star Anna Heinrich’s baby stole our hearts

Inside Locky Gilbert and Irena Srbinovska’s relationship

Meet the family waiting for Barry Hall at home after SAS

Inside Orpheus Pledger’s past as a Home And Away hunk

How Wayne Carey’s AFL career exploded after this affair

Where do you already know Simone Holtznagel from?

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