Filming for the next season of Australian Survivor: Champions v Contenders II is days away. Flights are booked, bags are packed and a new group of 24 hopefuls are nervously awaiting the start of their impending journey. Even Jonathan is increasing the rep time on those killer pythons. “With the game afoot” it is time to look back and make sure that history does not repeat itself. The biggest fear is to join the annals of history as the first boot of your season. Three Australians have faced that fate, Des, Joan and Matt. Let’s take a look at what went right and what went wrong for our 2018 contestants and what lessons can be learned from others mistakes.

Lesson 1 – First impressions matter.

Photo: 10 Supplied

Steve K unashamedly rummaged through rewards in front of everybody before he even knew his fellow castaways names! Yes, it is necessary to keep an eye out for advantages, but there is such thing as a time and place for everything, and a time and place not to do something too.

Lesson 2 – Beware the paranoia

Matt found himself in an uncertain situation, and that seemed to lead to a bout of paranoia that saw a complete breakdown at tribal council. He could not control his emotions and seemed to go off to his detriment, with an apparent swing against him at tribal sending him home first. Sometimes you need to keep your head down and play the party line.

Lesson 3 – At its core, Survivor is a social game

Zach failed to realise this and the end result was that he personally turned the entire tribe against him. Sometimes, you just have to shut up and be nice to get by. Players should use confessionals to unleash frustration instead of being condescending directly to fellow tribe mates. Andrew Torrens mastered this in 2016.

Lesson 4 – Trust your gut, finish the job

Mat Rogers played an excellent game for the season he was on. However arguably his biggest and most costly mistake came pre-merge. Mat had just masterminded the move to take out Jackie, but he did not finish the job. He left Brian Lake in the game who knew that he was next and not in his long term plans. When Mat decided to take out Tegan, who was already outcast from the Contenders, having been sent to Redemption/Exile Beach he gave away someone who would have been indebted to him long term and numbers that would ultimately come back to haunt him.

Photo: 10 Supplied

Lesson 5 – Don’t go off too early

Survivor is a long game, especially Australian Survivor. Shane Gould planted the seed at the merge that Lydia was a threat and had to go. She then retreated seeding power to Mat. Having a shield in front of you can work in your favour.

Lesson 6 – Endure the slog, be mentally prepared

Survivor is like a game of chess. It is methodical, slow and you need to consider all possible options. Sometimes you need to risk losing a pawn or a rook along the way to take out the Queen.

Lesson 7 – Think smart. Don’t let a grudge destroy your game. 
Use advantages to benefit your long term game. Don’t let history dictate your future moves. Brian Lake had the winners cheque firmly in his hands. All he needed to do was use the Dead Man Walking twist correctly. However his ego impeded his judgement. He wanted the Commando gone, and with that move so did his realistic chances of winning this game.


Lesson 8 – Find trust, but remember you’ve only known these people for a short time
Survivor is one of the most unique experiences anyone can ever go through. Hardship creates bonds that are far deeper than they would be in the real world. Ultimately Survivor only has one winner, but you will need to trust in others throughout your game to make it far. But remember, you did not apply to be on Survivor to make 23 new friends. You went to win $500,000 for yourself and your family. Put yourself first.

Lesson 9 – The final tribal council is not about facts

Sharn (rightfully) thought she had the game in the bag heading into the final tribal council. In a court room you can make statements and outlay the facts. But this is Survivor, and reality is in the eye of the beholder. Final tribal is more of a sales pitch than a plea to your perceived logic and facts. The least threatening person of all 3 seasons of Australian Survivor at the merge has won the game. Kristie, Jericho and Shane were all under appreciated and seen as potential goats.

*If you are a jury member. Don’t be bitter. Vote for the best player. Your legacy will be tarnished by voting for the wrong person.

Lesson 10 – You only play once, so make it count.

So many Survivors return with regret. By the time their boot episode airs many use the line, “Next time I play, I will be bigger, bolder and take more risks…” I’ve heard this so many times I physically cringe when I hear those words. Many Survivor players don’t realise how lucky they are. Most are not super fans who have dreamed of playing since seeing Hatch, Rudy and Wiglesworth on the beaches of Borneo. Here is the true reality, if you don’t do those things the first time, you will not get a next time. Remember only one person wins every season. So make the most of your opportunity. Don’t allow yourself to be boring. Be the narrator. Be a story teller. Make your Survivor journey count.

Making it far does not mean screen time. Just ask El, Peter and Monika.

Written by Shane and Ryan