Stronger together: warriors show Spartan mettle
WENDELL Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and Darren Lockyer were a formidable force on the footy field, winning a grand final together nearly two decades ago.
Wendell believes they could have been Spartans too, had the show been around back then.
Now, the NRL great is happy calling the action from the sidelines of Channel 7's new obstacle course series Australian Spartan.
"Back in the day I would have had Lote and Darren on my team; they'd be my boys," Wendell says.
"There's that trust you have on the field, and you've got to have trust on the obstacles.
"To be honest I would have struggled on half to three quarters of those obstacles... I was really inspired by what I saw."
Unlike Australian Ninja Warrior, which took the country by storm last year, Spartan is a team challenge.
Three athletes must tackle the course together. If any of them fall or fail to complete an obstacle, then the entire team is out.
"It was amazing to see these teams compete, not only because of the physicality but also the connection between all of them," co-host Edwina Bartholomew says.
"They either met exercising or exercise was a way for them to overcome adversity or to get through a really tough time in their lives. These teams have incredible stories of bonding and how they met and how they came to train together.
"We've got a team from the outback whose members live hundreds of kilometres away from each other; we have mothers and sons, husbands and wives, and people who are just freshly married and are testing their relationship on the obstacle course."
Filmed at a disused oil refinery near Brisbane Airport, Spartan features both wet and dry obstacles. From giant tyre swings to a steep and slippery wall, teamwork is required to conquer every stage.
"A lot of people came into it expecting something like the Spartan races, which are very muddy and full of barbed wire. This is a much cleaner course," Bartholomew says.
The diversity of the athletes, and who does well, will surprise you.
"You go into it thinking that it's going to favour your Crossfit athletes and your beefy blokes but actually a lot of women did really well on the course," she says.
"People with flexibility and the ability to fling themselves from one side to the other also did well.
"The main takeaway for myself and Hamish (McLachlan, co-host) was to expect the unexpected. You could be so prepared as a team but at the end of the day some element doesn't work out for you and that's it, you're done."
Australian Spartan premieres on Channel 7 tomorrow at 7pm.