Previously on Australian Sur … wait, no, SERIOUSLY? It happens to me everytime! New year, new season, new gimmicky title – Champions vs. Contenders, yo – and finally, a new location as my boy JLP introduced us to majestic Fiji – aka the home of US Survivor now – before showing us a boat as it made its way through the rivers of Fiji, obviously featuring the Champions … as yachting is how champions choose to travel. On said boat we were introduced to dual code footy champ Mat Rogers, icon Shane Gould – who is instantly my favourite – and Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine’s nemesis Russell Hantz, who for some reason was put on the Champions tribe despite losing Survivor thrice. They were joined by double amputee ex-soldier Damien Thomlinson, who was very confident in the fact one of them will win.
Jokes on him though, because everyone loves an underdog … and with that we were introduced to Steve K and the rest of the Contenders, as they rolled through the jungle in a beat-up old truck, holding on for dear life so not to be flicked out into the Fijian jungle and the awaiting staged tribesman. Joining Steve – who is also an icon – is Anita who will challenge Shane for my heart, oh wait, no, zaddy’s home … I’m going for Robbie. Robbie is hot and I look forward to the Locky Gilbert Memorial Nude Challenge.
The Contenders arrived at the site of their first reward challenge – said Locky Gilbert Memorial Nude Challenge … The Secret is real, yo – to see Jonathan, who gave them some light shade about being the Contenders. Not leaving them to wonder about their opposition for long, JLP brought out the Champions and like me, they were shocked to see three-time loser Russell amongst the line-up
Echoing my sentiments potential-Queen Anita mentioned the fact that everyone loves an underdog, before JLP threw some epic shade at Hantz, enquiring what exactly he had done to be considered a champion.
Mat Rogers wasn’t concerned about having too bigger target on his back, Steve W worked his way up in my books by showing a decent knowledge of the game, and not to mention could give us the majesty of seeing Mish Bridges pulled out for a family reward.
Before I pass out from the excitement of Mish, I’ll focus on the challenge and hand and get back to secreting the clothes off Robbie, Benji, Heath, Steve W and Sam. JLP informed everyone that they would play the game with only the clothes on their backs and that this challenge would give them the chance to battle for comfort items. Each round, one person from each tribe faces off, slides down a slide – hopefully showing some skin for some – and battle for the item dropped at the end.
Shying away from the usual same gendered competitors in each round, Moana was up first for the Champions competing against Matt D for a single pillow. Obvi, I assumed Moana was going to completely school him – as did Mat R – however somehow he took out the pillow, despite her crafting move. Ex-Gladiator Zach and Steve compared muscles for a bag of rice with Steve completely bombing, though making him even more lovable to me. Olympic Gold Medallist Lydia proved no match for Jenna who snagged the Contenders a bag of pineapples – their third win in a row – before Steve K started rifling through the loot, obviously searching for an idol clue due to boredom over how one sided the battle is. Thankfully for the Champions, Queen Shane dominated Paige and scored them their first victory, in the form of oranges. Mat R and Robbie – in some v skimpy pants, YAS – were up next with Mat making a play for my heart by trying to rip his pants off while dragging him over for the Champions second win, this time for rope. The final round featured man-tree Heath versus recent arrestee Brian Lake competing for fire in the form of flint, which Brian snatched by playing dirty and pushing Heath out of the way at the start of the slide.
With that, the survivors were sent off to their camps where we met former Miss Universe Australia Monika who was completely thrilled about not having to shave or wear make-up for a couple of months. Given she is a beauty queen, she is definitely one to watch. Steve W quickly made himself the leader of the Champions, rallying the troops and getting everyone to work setting up camp and starting a fire. Obviously this pissed off Russell, who felt everyone was too focused on setting up camp rather than playing the game. Which yes, is true, but come on … you need shelter and fire ASAP dude. Obviously Russell made a beeline for Monika, who he deemed to be stupid and proceeded to lie about making it to the end with his alliances three times (two dude) and helping a beauty queens win, bitterly spitting out Natalie White’s name when asked. And once again proving that he hasn’t really learnt from his mistakes.
Meanwhile over at the Contenders everyone got down to introducing themselves, with Anita continuing her ascension in my heart. Robbie put his career as a construction manager to good work, leading the tribe in building the shelter while Shonee, Fenella and Paige acted like the Greek Chorus, gossiping about how ripped the guys on their tribe are. While the girls thirsted and Benji, Zach, Heath and Robbie started a bromance, Steve K continued to hunt for an idol in a very obvious and skittish fashion. This got Matt D’s attention, who quickly spread the intel throughout the tribe and worked to get the target for first boot as far away as possible. Despite the drama, the tribe got together to make fire in preparation of nightfall and while there was smoke, there tragically was no fire.
Back at the Champions, the tribe joined together by the fire to share their impressive resumes and bond. While Shane and Lydia impressed with their olympic victories, it was Damien’s story that packed the most emotional punch sharing about the accident that lead to his amputations and even managed to take Russell out of his gamebot mode. While they snuggled by the fire to keep the cold at bay, laughing about how cold the Contenders would be feeling. We then obviously cut to see them shivering in misery, and while it was pitiful, it gave us the sight of Zach nuzzling into Heath for warmth and damn I could ship the hell out of that romance.
The Contenders quickly got to work attempting to make fire and fix their shelter the next day, while Shonee lamented the fact she could be doing brunch right about now, rather than smashing some termites with besties Fenella and Anita. Steve K? Oh, he is still hunting for idols and charming the shit out of Paige and damn, I could ship the shit out of this pairing too. Begging the question, WHY AM I SHIPPING HETERO RELATIONSHIPS?
The Champs went for a morning beach walk while Monika and Brian tried to learn what astrophysicist Sam actually does. He was concerned about how people perceive him being the nerd of the tribe, while Sharn, Brian and Monika gushed over how adorable he is. Russell too was fangirling over Sam, quickly trying to align with him and Monika before going hunting for a hidden immunity idol. With him tragically finding the first one of the season and vowing to force the Champions to start playing the game which is amazing for the sole reason that you know it is going to blow-up in his face.
JLP opted to distract me from the pain of Russell’s idol find by arriving for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to climb over a high wall, climb through a series of obstacles, knock down a wall, unlock puzzle pieces, solving a hanging puzzle and then destroying said puzzle. While it for the ugliest immunity idol, it is immunity … so they were hungry. The Contenders got out to an early lead thanks to man-mountain Heath, while Russell proved to be an albatross around the Champions neck. Well until both tribes were down to one person left to ascend the wall, with Mat R snagging them the lead while poor Heath struggled. Thankfully the Contenders reclaimed the lead through the obstacles, giving them an advantage as they got to solving the puzzle. Though they did almost break Jenna, which looked pretty gnarly. Paige and Matt D quickly worked through the puzzle, well Paige did, while Matt wander aimlessly allowing Damien and Jackie to overtake the Contenders and start on destroying their puzzle. Damien dominated, knocking the puzzle down piece by piece while Matt D desperately tried to close the gap. Which he sadly didn’t.
While the Champions celebrated their win, Anita asked JLP to call a medic to check over Jenna, who thankfully assured her that it was just soft tissue damage. With that, legit doctor JLP sent them back to camp and ordered Jenna to elevate her leg while scrambling to save herself from becoming an easy first boot. Paige tried to rally the troops and perk everyone up, while Steve K lamented how the puzzle solvers squandered their lead. Sensing that he was the obvious target, Steve stuck to everyone like glue to avoid giving them the opportunity to plot against him. Despite feeling close to Zach, he was in fact leading the charge against Steve while Paige, Anita, Fenella, Shonee and Anita spoke about how sad it will be to lose him.
Fenella was confident that Steve wouldn’t have an idol, while Matt started to spook everyone by trying to split the vote just in case he did in fact find one. Matt got increasingly paranoid, going to the other boys to try and lock something in, only painting a bigger target on his back as he offended them and then disappeared for hours trying to find an idol. Obviously this made everyone suspicious, with queen Tegan and Robbie stalking through the jungle like Queen SDT to find him. Which they did, catching him red handed. We then returned back to camp where Matt was miraculously chilling with everyone by the beach and Steve then ran back into camp excitedly, making it all very confusing just as we headed out to tribal.
The tribe filed into tribal council before JLP rubbed salt in their wounds about not having fire or a shelter. While they lamented not being able to sleep, Steve proudly spoke about using meditation to get some killer shut-eye. Zach spoke about first impressions before King Steve called JLP Jeff and tried to refocus everyone on playing the game. Feeling nervous, Matt reminded everyone about Steve hunting for idol clues during the opening challenge and laid into him for not owning it. Robbie then cut him off and told him that maybe he should own his extended disappearance for idol hunting. Which he did own, before completely going in on the bromance alliance and moving the target closer to his back with every word.
While Robbie, Benji and Tegan tried to calm Matt down, he continued to lay into everyone and then offended all the women by saying they were blind, submissive lemmings. Which is ridiculous TBH. Fenella and Paige seethed at his continuing flameout, while Zach still tried to calm Matt while Matt, bless, continued to offend his tribemates, one at a time. Paige channelled Keith Nale and tried to get everyone to stick to the plan, which Heath, Shonee and Jenna agreed was the best, for the tribe. Matt too urged them all to stick to the plan, though the smirk on his face would suggest he either just realised he was the target all along or somehow was trying to make Steve feel safe enough not to play his hypothetical idol.
With that they cast their votes one by one before Steve did not play an idol, real or otherwise, and Matt found himself becoming the first boot of Champions vs. Contenders. Telling the girls to start playing the game on his way out the door, leading to Shonee’s brutal smack-down that they just did, instantly becoming my number one.
Matt was pretty pissed to find himself becoming the first boot, however quickly realised that he really only had himself to blame after that tribal council performance. And by realised, I reiterated it to him until he agreed he fumbled the ball or something else one of the footy playing Champions would say. After beating him down emotionally, I started to feel guilty and so quickly ran off to the kitchen and whipped him up a soothing Mattcha Dyson Latte.
The soothing nature of green tea combined with the sweetness of maple and the smug you can enjoy knowing how many antioxidants you’re enjoying, make this the perfect antidote to first boot pain.
I mean, it isn’t a shit tonne of cheese and carbs. But it will do.
Mattcha Dyson Latte
1 tbsp matcha powder
1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp maple syrup
300-500ml hot (preferably frothed) milk
Combine the matcha, boiling water and maple syrup in a cup and whisk until smooth and lump free.
Slowly pour in the warmed milk, stirring constantly.
Down, while lamenting the pain of becoming the first boot.