Gladiators 2024: Meet Hammer, the returnee OG Gladiator with a big role in the series

He's baaack!

OG Gladiator Hammer is returning for the Gladiators 2024 revival, but he’s in a very different role.

Mark McGaw will be reprising his role of Hammer, but this time he will be a referee on the competition reality show.

Mark appeared in all three seasons of the original Gladiators series from 1995-1996. Speaking of his return, Liz Ellis, who is hosting the reboot alongside Beau Ryan, said that Mark helped show the new team the ropes.

“He was great to have on set because he schooled us in the 1990s version of Gladiators,” she told Chattr in an interview during December 2023, in preparation for the January 15 launch. “And he told us about the international test series, America versus Australia versus England.

“He also had all the old [costume] sets so the bomber jacket, the unitard that he used to wear when he was Hammer. It was just amazing because it was a beautiful link back to the original show. He was able to tell us all about it.

Hammer, Tower and Vulcan. Gladiators.

Hammer was a well-known NRL player

It’s been a minute since the Gladiator-Challenger-turned-referee played NRL, but he was once very successful at it.

He played professional rugby for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs. He’s competed in more than 12 State of Origin clashes, with the first being in 1987.

Mark McGaw in State of Origin. Twitter.

Will Hammer be refereeing the same challenges he used to compete in?

He sure will! Many of the challenges from the original edition of Gladiators Australia will be returning in the 2024 version.

Some of those returning challenges include Hang Tough, the well-known Pyramid, and the iconic Eliminator, which features a travelator.

“I love that the new series is so obviously made for an audience that’s thirty years on,” Liz said.

“There are lots of things about the original series that are still there,” Ellis said, adding that the cast has the same characteristics. “The Gladiators are larger-than-life. They have different names but are the same big characters, with big bodies and big  everything!”

She later added: “I just think that people who loved the series will immediately recognise it in the new one.”

Gladiators Australia 2024 airs Sundays – Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10Play.

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