In the thirteenth episode of Australian Survivor, the newly swapped Contenders tribe attended their first tribal council and slayed the Big Friendly Giant himself, Heath Davies. The 33-year-old Builder had his head on the chopping block more than once throughout his time on the island, one time saving himself with a beautiful idol play. However, losing Tegan in the tribe swap and being unable to convince his old Contender allies to give her a THIRD shot, Heath found himself in a precarious position. With Benji and Robbie aligning themselves with the former Champion women, Heath didn’t stand a chance and was booted one vote before the merge.
Inside Survivor’s Austin Smith caught up with Heath to talk about his time on the island, his relationship with Tegan, what it was like making that incredible idol play, and what his plan was heading into the merge.
1. Heath, I’m gutted to see you go out of the game so close to the merge, but thank you for giving us a moment of your time to talk about your game! First of all, we know that you’re a fan of the show, but did your experience live up to your expectations?
It exceeded my expectations. I think it was a lot harder mentally, physically and emotionally which wasn’t something I was expecting but it made the experience all that more worthwhile.
2. Right from the start of the game, you formed a tight alliance with Tegan that seemed to define your entire game. How did you come to work together, and what was your gameplan together – if everything had gone your way on the Contenders tribe?
We came to work together because we are both parents to two young children the same age. We shared the same morals and I felt I could trust Tegan straight away. We had a lot in common and our plan was to get as far as possible in the game as we could, if not to the end.
3. Congratulations are in order for your epic Idol play – and for breaking the SurvivorAU record for the number of votes cancelled by an Idol! Can you tell us a little about your thinking leading up to that vote, and why you decided to play it? Did you consider keeping it in your pocket and taking your chances at Exile?
Thank you. I always intended to play it to save myself from going to Exile and to avoid playing out against Tegan who was my closest alliance. It was also the plan to give Tegan the best opportunity to come back in to the game. Playing that Idol was definitely my favourite moment in the game and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
4. After Tegan came back into the game, what led the two of you to follow the plan to take out Zach and Paige at the next couple votes, rather than seeking vengeance on someone like Benji?
We just didn’t think that we had the numbers to turn everyone on Benji and we were trying to get ourselves further in the game by going with the majority as we both knew we had targets on our backs.
5. In the aftermath of their blindsides against you, what was your relationship like with Benji & Robbie? Did you believe that you could leave the past behind and work together moving forward?
It was something that I did say, but I really didn’t think I could leave the past behind. I said it but I didn’t actually believe it at all but you have to try and keep your poker face strong in this game.
6. At the swap, you found yourself in a tight situation – separated from Tegan, but also in a Contender majority on your new tribe. What was your reaction to the new tribe division, and how did you want to approach the new dynamic?
It was good to have the Champions strongest girls on our side, and I was looking forward to seeing if we could win some challenges. At the same time my alliance was split with Tegan going to the Champions tribe so working with new people (who wanted you out) to try and form new alliances was harder than I thought it would be.
7. When you and Fenella voted together to save Tegan, it seemed like it pushed you both into working together from a minority position. What was your relationship like with Fenella – were you working together throughout the game, or was your collaboration after the swap merely a marriage of convenience?
Having just lost our closest allies we had no choice but to try and work with each other and the boys but they had already swayed the Champion girls to vote against us. It would have been the best move to keep the original Contenders numbers strong but the boys had other plans and were playing their own games. Working with Fenella was the best option.
8. In her voting confessional, Sharn mentioned that if you’d spoken to her sooner about working together, she might not have voted you out. When did you start trying to connect with the Champion women? Do you think you could have done anything differently to get Sharn, Monika and Lydia on side to vote with you?
We hadn’t really spoken about who was going to be voted out as we had a good winning streak and didn’t go to tribal council so those conversations were non-existent for me as far as I knew. I thought myself and Fenella had done enough to sway the votes our way when we needed to but it didn’t work out that way unfortunately.
9. Let’s say the vote goes according to plan – Robbie is sent home, and you make the merge. What were your plans for how to approach the next phase of the game? Who did you hope to work with and who did you want to target?
I had thought about working with the majority of people who were on the bottom of both tribes to get the numbers to vote the strongest players and biggest threats out of the game. It’s also individual immunity so going into each challenge to win would have been another thing I would try to do. Forming new alliances and starting the game all over again would have been a massive challenge but was something I was looking forward to.
10. Lastly, what were your personal highlights from your 30 days of Survivor? Was there any part of your experience or strategy that you wish had made it onto the show?
My highlight of the game was definitely my idol play. That’s a part of my game play that I will never forget. My strategy was to go into the game and be myself and I wouldn’t have changed that. Had I have made it to merge I would have had to change some things about my game but staying true to myself and my morals was exactly what I set out to do so I’m happy with that. I was myself on the island and that’s exactly what Australia has seen.