Kemper Boyd, Blurry Denzel, and Assistant Dragon Slayer sat down recently and drafted three eight-castaway fantasy teams. Here’s who they picked and why.
(Needless to say, there are spoilers aplenty for Seasons 1-4 in this discussion. Newbies should stick to yesterday’s FAQ post)
Round 1, pick 1 (Kemper Boyd): Phoebe Timmins
Season 1, 14th place
I don’t necessarily think Phoebe is the player who will win this season, I don’t think she is the best player but she is the player I am most excited to see play again.
Phoebe was one of maybe 3 players in season 1 who knew what the game of Survivor was, who understood the concept of strategy and social strategy and how to put them together.
Phoebe started out her season by getting herself into a majority on her tribe, then after a swap she was on the outter as we say in Survivor Australia, and although she convinced her closest ally to play his idol to save her, her original tribemates flipped and voted for him. She bounced back quickly and flipped two people to blindside a bigger threat and played an idol to blindside one of the two players she flipped. Phoebe was twist screwed, when she decided to go after eventual winner Kristie at what turned out to be a no vote tribal. Kristie then came for Phoebe and this time there was no idol to save her.
Big moves? Check. Fun confessionals? Check. Social play? Check. Kinda hot? Yes. Not a man? Check. That’s the Survivor player for me.
Round 1, pick 2 (Blurry Denzel): Shonee Fairfax
Season 3, 4th place
My favorite player from season 3 is back, even if the show goes out of its way not to acknowledge it. I think Shonee has high upside as she won’t cause waves, post too big of a threat, and just get along with people. I can see her climbing the ladder by being someone people will want to work with. I think she in top 10 in terms of winner’s odds.
Round 1, pick 3 (Assistant Dragon Slayer): David Genat
Season 4, 10th place
Arguably the flashiest player in Australian Survivor history (and that’s really saying something), the Golden God was a super-handsome, challenge-beasting showboat full of Big Movez™ and braggadocio, but always with tongue firmly in cheek and half-comically leaning into his Big Swingin’ D persona, defusing any genuine resentment among fellow castaways and viewers. How charismatic is David? So charismatic that I was bamboozled into picking him in the first round even though I can’t imagine him making it out of the pre-merge. David’s boot episode aired just a couple days after All-Stars began filming, so in the eyes of the Season 1-3 players his threat level couldn’t be higher.
Round 2, pick 1 (ADS): Brooke Jowett
Season 1, 7th place
Safely in the majority almost all the time both pre- and post-merge in Season 1, Brooke quietly built up a social network that put her at the center of all information flows. That’s how you make it far in Survivor if you’re not necessarily a strategic mastermind. Brooke was infamously blindsided by her more overtly snakey ride-or-die ally Flick, and because the producers of Australian Survivor aren’t dumb, Brooke and Flick will start All-Stars on the same tribe. If Brooke can maneuver around Flick, I can see her going all the way.
Round 2, pick 2 (BD): Nick Iadanza
Season 1, 11th place
The fan’s avatar of the season. He is the gamer with the capability to execute some bold strategic moves. Since his first season, Nick has podcasted about the game. Maybe this makes him a bigger threat as the Australian version of Savage gunning for Fishbach plays out. I think he’ll be fun to be around though, and the more time he spends on the island, the more other’s defenses go down. I’m very excited for Nick’s return.
Round 2, pick 3 (KB): Henry Nicholson
Season 2, 10th place
Henry is the charming affable long haired labourer who pretended to be a yoga teacher to seem less threatening. Henry was an early star on season 2 (a season filled with stars) and had a lot of control early in his first game. He formed a very strong bond with Jacqui (who is playing this season) early on and found an idol (He went home with it in his pocket). Henry played very aggressively very early on, which is not the way to win Australian Survivor. If he can pull back and let others be bigger threats early on Henry has a good shot at this game. His physical threat won’t be as big in a season absolutely full of physical threats and his strategic threat should also be lower with other famously snakey players around.
Round 3, pick 1 (KB): Mat Rogers
Season 3, 9th place
Mat Rogers is a good Survivor player, he is physically one of the best to have player. An international rugby player who is fast, agile and strong. He is strategically good and he made strong bonds. His issue is that he looks like he is a good Survivor player. Two of his biggest allies and closest friends are playing this season in Sharn and Moana. If I was swinging for big threats Mat would be target 1 for me. He was voted out because of his own gameplay and the fact his ally Sharn was tricked into playing he idol on herself instead of him. It was his own fault having blindsided a pair of his allies instead of pagonging the Contenders tribe. Mat ran the game but in the end voted against his strongest ally at FTC for not playing her idol on him, when he had his own in his pocket. If he can learn his lesson about when to make moves and keeping the numbers he is a big threat.
Round 3, pick 2 (BD): Michelle Dougan
Season 2, 4th place
I love Michelle. She found a way to stand out as a character in a season with so many great ones. She could be in trouble early if tribes take a “keep the tribe strong” mentality. A definite possibility with all the professional athletes out there. If she can survive, though, everyone watch out. She will gather info on the game and spin it to her own success. That is her hustle, that’s how she’ll win.
Round 3, pick 3 (ADS): Shane Gould
Season 3, 1st place
The surprise winner of Season 3, thanks to a combination of her stellar FTC performance and Sharn’s meltdown, Shane has some significant obstacles heading into Season 4, namely her tribemates Sharn and Lydia (whose blindside Shane engineered in the middle of a challenge from the sit-out bench), who will surely be out for revenge. The first time around, Shane’s tribe-mom persona masked an Olympic hero’s ruthless competitive streak. The question is whether that can work again. Ultimately, though, Queen stays Queen until deposed. If her tribe doesn’t lose too many pre-merge challenges, I can see her being treated as a disposable number again until it’s too late. Don’t fuck with Shane Gould!
Round 4, pick 1 (ADS): Flick Egginton
Season 1, 4th place
Flick, the more scheme-y member of the Brooke/Flick dyad, comes into the game with a higher threat level than Brooke because she got Brooke before Brooke could get her (and predictably, getting rid of one isolated the other, and Flick went soon after). This is a handcuff pick: I think it’s likely that Flick gets eliminated early at the hands of Brooke, but if Flick escapes without blood on her hands, she could go far.
Round 4, pick 2 (BD): Lee Carseldine
Season 1, 2nd place
Mateship!!! I expect a lot of the same from Lee as we got his first time. He is someone who can take control of a tribe, leading both in challenges and decision making. He’ll preach his version of honor, which coincidentally benefits him most. He can also be a useful meat shield for others. There are similar types of players who may gun for him but if he wins the battle against them, he may end up the winner at war.
Round 4, pick 3 (KB): Sharn Coombes
Season 3, 2nd place
I really loved Sharn during her season. She was one of only a handful of Non-sportspeople on the Champions Tribe. Sharn is the rare breed on Survivor, an older women (only 41) who is physically fit and unbelievably smart. She is a Barrister who runs ultra-marathons. Sharn forged good bonds with multiple players across tribes during her season. She got into a strong majority with Mat, made good bonds with Benji (that he used to trick her into playing her idol on herself rather than Mat at the tribal where he was sent home) and she had a solid two with Shane Gould that took her to the end. I felt Sharn was unlucky not to win at FTC. She lost 5-4 to someone who put together a brilliant final tribal performance. Although as a Barrister you would have hoped she could put together a closing argument.
Sharn also found an idol at a challenge, out it in her shorts and it fell out as she walked back to the mat. She pooped an idol.
Round 5, pick 1 (KB): Moana Hope
Season 3, 19th place
Moana is the closest to a player who showed no faults in their first game as exists in this returnees season (yes even the two winners). Mo was tight with Mat and Sharn early on, had control on her tribe and found an idol. A debilitating stomach illness took her out of the game, she had to decide to be voted out and used her quasi-medivac to help her alliance flush an idol. I know a lot of people don’t like players who quit but Mo is a current professional athlete and her sport was only in its second ever season and at 30 she didn’t have many years to make money from it. Moana recently married her longterm girlfriend and is the main caregiver to her severely disabled younger sister. She has a big reason to want to win this season and I think she has a good chance.
Round 5, pick 2 (BD): Jericho Malabonga
Season 2, 1st place
Am I crazy for thinking Jericho can win again, following in Queen Sandra’s footsteps? I don’t think his reputation is so big that this ends up being a situation that they need to get rid of him at all costs. I can see him forming bonds with any player on the season. He won’t be so under the radar this time but I think he’ll have breathing room to maneuver throughout the game. Next thing you know, gamers and beasts are gone and Jericho is still there. That will be a treat.
Round 5, pick 3 (ADS): Lydia Lassila
Season 3, 12th place
Olympic medalist Lydia is quite possibly the best challenge performer in Survivor history, man or woman, any country. She’s simply amazing in every type of challenge. This means that even if she’s boned up on Survivor strategy since her first appearance, her fate in the game is almost certain to be the same no matter how many times she plays: Early merge boot.
Round 6, pick 1 (ADS): Locky Gilbert
Season 2, 5th place
The physically imposing Locky hung on by his fingertips late in Season 2 by winning three immunity challenges in a row, ultimately going out in 5th place. I think that because he’s mainly remembered as a challenge beast, people forget that he was also scrappy, digging out of a minority position after being swap-screwed and getting out of several other precarious situations (some of his own making). His is a very mixed bag, though, as he was also left out of the loop on a number of occasions, often resulting in him blowing up and/or sulking the next day. He went further in the game than you’d expect his first time, and I just don’t think he has another gear to his game.
Round 6, pick 2 (BD): Daisy Richardson
Season 4, 8th place
Searching for redemption after some glaring idol mistakes were her downfall. I think Daisy will be able to get along with others and that can mask weaknesses. Daisy is also more than willing to make some move that will put her out in front and in the spotlight. This can make a valuable asset for players that need to gather numbers to survive. It can also make her the untrustworthy player that you just need to cut. It will be interesting to see how Daisy plays things this time around.
Round 6, pick 3 (KB): Abbey Holmes
Season 4, 5th place
Yet another physical beast of a player (you might be seeing a theme in Australian Survivor casting). A retired WAFL player who is now a tv presenter. Early on Abbey swung away from the sportspeople alliance where she was just a number to the rag tag but way more fun assorted other Champions. She then got herself into a tight as hell 3 woman alliance with Janice and eventual winner Pia last season. She was seen as the weakest strategically of the three. She cried when voting out one of her childhood heroes. Her downfall was self-perpetuated but because she saw a time she had to start playing for fear of being a FTC loser. Abbey should be able to bond easily with a lot of this cast and her fellow players (apart from her season castmates) only saw the pre-merge of her game so will see her as pretty loyal and passive.
Round 7, pick 1 (KB): John Eastoe
Season 4, 7th place
John is a miner, he’s a really nice guy. He didn’t really play Survivor so much as be on a season. I have no idea if he can play the game but he’s a really nice, fun guy and people like him.
Round 7, pick 2 (BD): Harry Hills
Season 4, 3rd place
Now this is a player who will throw shit against the wall to see if it sticks. While we may not see the return of fake child Oscar, we may get other craziness as Harry does whatever it takes to come out ahead. I think Harry’s savviness is more effective when it is more low-key. He has a mind for the game and we’ll see if he can make it far again if he keeps things quieter.
Round 7, pick 3 (ADS): AK Knight
Season 2, 15th place
Wedding DJ AK came out of the gate in Season 2 shot out of a cannon, playing super-aggressively (Chicken Idol!), but entertainingly and memorably. He’ll have more company in the Big Movez™ department this time around, and therefore more potential allies. However, I think AK fell this far down the draft board, correctly, because out of the snakes on this season, he seems the least likely to play any other way than full-tilt.
Round 8, pick 1 (ADS): Tarzan Herlaar
Season 2, 21st place
I’m glad Tarzan was still available to draft this late because I wanted to reward him for bailing out via a gifted idol my all-time fave Tessa O’Halloran, sacrificing himself in the process. In an ideal world, ultimate-scrapper Tessa would be on this season (along with Craig, Anneliese, Sarah, and Janine, maybe Ross too). Tarzan is a here-for-the-adventure type that’s long been extinct on US Survivor, but he’s a good bloke, useful in challenges and around camp, and he gives good confessionals. I think his upside is being a reliable vote who gets squeezed out in a mid-merge numbers game.
Round 8, pick 2 (BD): Jacqui Patterson
Season 2, 17th place
I’ll be honest, I rather have Janine from the previous season back on this go around. Jacqui saw herself in a partnership with Henry that lead to her having control over the tribe. It did not work as she got too comfortable with the idea of power. This time around, I don’t see others seeing her as a threat and she is an asset in challenges. Jacqui sticking around for a while is a good bet. I don’t see the strategic upside for her winning the game but Australian Survivor’s history shows us that anything is possible.
Round 8, pick 3 (KB): Zach Kozyrski
Season 3, 17th place
Fuck that guy.
Assistant Dragon Slayer began watching Survivor in 2013 with Survivor: Caramoan, but continued to watch the show anyway. He is up to 59 seasons and counting (43 US, seven Australia, five South Africa, two New Zealand, two Japan). So there.
Favorite player from each country: Cirie Fields (US), Luke Toki (Australia), Santoni Engelbrecht (South Africa), Lisa Stanger (New Zealand), Sakiko Sekiguchi (Japan) [and Maryanne Oketch (Canada)]