While the full cast for the upcoming Australian Survivor All Stars still hasn’t been officially revealed, it hasn’t stopped the Inside Survivor team from getting together to draft these 24 returning players ahead of the premiere on Monday, February 3!
Taking turns in a snake draft, Austin Smith, Alice Barelli, Dylan Vidal, and Martin Holmes picked their winner candidates, big characters and personal favourites to assemble their teams. Read on to hear their thoughts on all twenty-four castaways…
Click here for Part 1 of our cast assessment draft.
MARTIN’S FOURTH PICK
FELICITY “FLICK” EGGINTON
Flick is one of a handful of players to feature in Network 10’s pre-season press coverage, though that isn’t always an indicator of long-term success. However, I find Flick an intriguing case coming into this All Stars season. She was very much a modern-style Survivor player in an old school season the first time out. In fact, that goes for most of the season 1 returnees (except Lee), all of whom felt like they’d been transported from the current day to Survivor circa 2000. As the “mateship” mantra has dissipated in subsequent seasons—and All Stars likely to be a ruthless, fast-moving game—it should give players like Flick the chance to spread their wings.
In her first season, Flick made it all the way to fourth place, spending most of that time in the numbers. There was a risky tie vote in the early pre-merge, but once she survived that, Flick stuck by her alliance, which included her close friend Brooke Jowett, and voted in the majority the entire season. But the move she is remembered for is blindsiding her BFF Brooke at the final seven, at the time, the biggest betrayal in Australian Survivor. It was a move that needed to happen, but it also caused a lot of bad blood, and it’s the thing that concerns me most about Flick’s game heading into All Stars.
If all people remember about Flick is how she betrayed her best friend, then that could make it difficult for others to trust her. It’s going to be particularly challenging if she’s on the same tribe as Brooke. I’m not sure if the two women have patched things up since the first season, but if there is any lingering tension, that could be a problem for both of them. However, Flick has a strong set of Survivor skills—she is decent in challenges, she has good reads, she can make solid social bonds. She is more than capable of overcoming those preconceived notions about her game. Plus, she isn’t the only person on this cast who has betrayed someone on Survivor.
DYLAN’S FOURTH PICK
SEASON 3 – CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS
Zach was a player who was a victim of circumstance on his first season. The Contenders tribe was utterly decimated on season 3 after having to consistently go to Tribal Council. While his misogynistic and hyper-masculine attitude meant he wasn’t the most well-received by the women on his tribe, he still managed to get the men on his side. Zach brings no strategic value to the season but does bring a lot of character and an element of unpredictability. As a former cast member of the show Australian Gladiator, he knows how to put on a show for the cameras, and if he manages to play his cards right, it might work to his benefit.
We have seen crazy and kooky characters go far on Survivor before. Only look so far as a Coach Wade or a Phillip Sheppard, and you will see that players who are mere caricatures of the human experience are the type of players who can make it far in the game because nobody takes them seriously. It is a longshot, but stranger things have happened.
ALICE’S FOURTH PICK
SEASON 3 – CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS
When the cast of Champions vs. Contenders 2018 was announced, my mum was hysterically excited that Shane Gould was included. She told me how Shane was a real dynamo: an Olympic champion with incredible energy and personality. She told me Shane would win the season and was furious when I didn’t select her for my draft.
Although I liked Shane, I feared the curse of the older lady and thought she might be doomed to an early boot if she wasn’t able to contribute in tribe challenges. Yet, Shane proved to be more than capable of playing every facet of the Survivor game. She searched tirelessly for an idol (to the point that it became a tribe joke) and was familiar with gameplay mechanisms. She engineered a blindside of the most dominant challenge threat remaining in the game at the merge. She chose Sharn as her ride-or-die and went all in to get them both to the end. When Shane sniffed a hint of danger coming towards her or her allies, she would begin to fight back in her affable, relaxed yet direct and forceful way.
Shane’s past as an Olympian speaks to how hard she is willing to work to get further in the game. She was direct in her approach and expressing her plan to move forward but was never blunt when dealing with allies or foes alike. Shane’s game was rewarded partly for the genuine connections she made with other castaways. Her loyalty to her allies won her favour, and it just may win her a second crown on All Stars. Yes, entering the game as a winner gives Shane a target, but having won for being loyal makes her a prime choice as an ally. Unlikely to win individual Immunity, there shouldn’t be much urgency to vote her out.
Furthermore, I want to see what Shane can pull out of the bag in a second time around. She was rarely in any true danger during her season, but, if pressed, I believe she would be willing to go to the ends of the earth to survive another three days. She said it best herself: Don’t F*** with Shane Gould!
AUSTIN’S FOURTH PICK
SEASON 3 – CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS
One of the biggest surprises of the first iteration of Champions vs. Contenders was seeing Mat Rogers become the Godfather, embracing the cunning side of Survivor and lead a dominant and cut-throat game. At least, up until his horrendous error at his last Tribal Council, where Benji publicly convinced Sharn to not play an Idol on Mat, allowing for Mat to go home with his own Idol in his pocket. One of the more embarrassing errors in Australian Survivor, Mat now has the opportunity to learn from his past mistakes and refine his already excellent gameplay. There’s a good chance his previous strategy could work again here. Despite his reputation as a strong leader, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the rest of the cast underestimate his cunning, particularly if he can take it up a notch for his second time out.
My concern with Mat comes down to his attitude to the game, and whether or not he’ll cling to the ideals of who “deserves” to be in the game, or if he’ll hold grudges—even against logic—like he did against Sharn at Final Tribal Council as he denied her his vote even after she’d nearly saved him at his last Tribal. If Mat gets into a position of power and has the control that affords him the room to look down at others’ games, he could quickly repeat the past. But Mat has a solid and well-rounded game, lots of connections to old friends like Moana, Lydia, and Shane, and I could see him doing very well this time out, even with his reputation looming.
AUSTIN’S FIFTH PICK
Of the female cast, Jacqui is almost certainly the biggest surprise. Second only to Moana, who went out due to sickness, she is the lowest-placing female returnee, placing 17th in her first outing. But while she may not have the clout carried by many of the other All Stars, she could easily become a zero-to-hero this time around. Jacqui was an extremely aggressive player, especially for the older woman archetype, forming a tight-knot alliance with Henry early on that could have easily become an Australian Malcolm/Denise had he not abandoned her at the tribe swap, leaving her without an ally, an Idol or the numbers. But Jacqui knows the game—her speech at Tribal about looking at Survivor through the same lens as you would a game of Monopoly where you can play ruthlessly but still consider your opponents’ friends is a perspective I’ve long shared. There’s a solid foundation there for an excellent Survivor game.
The hope with Jacqui is that if she can quell some of her flaws from her first time out—an over-reliance on one or two allies, in particular—she could do quite well. She has the opportunity to drop below the radar early to allow big targets to take centre stage and for old feuds to bubble over. At the same time, she solidifies an alliance that could draw her deep into the game, where she can then put her aggressive style into effect. Despite being surprised to see her make the All Stars cut (especially over some of the other stand-out female players, many from her own season), I’m honestly intrigued to see what Jacqui can make of her blank slate second chance.
ALICE’S FIFTH PICK
SEASON 3 – CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS
Lydia was one of the first Champions I recognised when the 2018 cast was revealed. I remembered her numerous wins at various Winter Olympics. Lydia’s first game was defined by her athleticism. She was immune for nine of the initial thirteen votes and received the lion’s share of recognition for winning numerous Tribal immunities. Lydia was blindsided at the merge for being a challenge threat and seemed genuinely taken aback that her allies would vote her out.
I have no doubt that Lydia intended to play the game as competitively as she could. Unfortunately for her, I think her version of how to play competitively was related to the world of sports rather than the world of Survivor. The strategies used are vastly different, albeit both require a strategy to succeed. Any seasoned Survivor player would realise their threat for being a challenge beast, but Lydia seemed unaware of this. The effects of her blindside seem to have lingered, with Lydia’s pre-season promos expressing her desire to get back at the people who blindsided her so they can feel as she did. These promos give me hope that Lydia is returning to the game with a different stance.
Although her physical ability is exceptional, I hope Lydia is bringing some social and strategic elements to her game this time. She seemed to bond well enough with her tribemates (she even managed to gather an adoring follower in Contender Robbie) and provided encouragement to help her tribe win challenges. Instead of riding those bonds in a majority alliance, I hope that Lydia surprises us all and comes out of the gates strong. I really believe she could be a triple threat, and the key component she needs to bring into her game is strategic thinking. I think Lydia is capable of cutthroat gameplay, and I believe she’d be willing to do anything to win, but there is a fine line between hypothetical and reality.
DYLAN’S FIFTH PICK
Locky came into the second season as someone who was unfamiliar with the game and made it far in a season full of incredibly strong strategic players. If you prescribe to the idea that every player is a product of their season, then Locky has lots of upside. He is a physical beast, a provider at camp, and the perfect meat-shield. Anyone will be lucky to have Locky on their tribe.
MARTIN’S FIFTH PICK
MARK “TARZAN” HERLAAR
Tarzan is very much my wildcard pick. I’m not quite sure what to expect from the bearded Lime Farmer from Toowoomba. He only survived two votes on his first season and is the lowest placing member of the All Stars cast. That could work to his benefit, though, as I doubt many of his fellow competitors see him as a huge threat. Also, the way he exited the game in season 2 could play into his favour, as he essentially fell on his sword for Tessa O’Halloran by giving her his idol. That paints Tarzan as an extremely loyal ally, and if people remember that about him, he could have a bunch of players queuing up to work with him.
My concern is that Tarzan just doesn’t have that killer instinct. He has plenty of skills, especially when it comes to the survival aspects and providing for his tribe. But in terms of gameplay? Is Tarzan willing to shake things up and turn on his allies if necessary? I’m hoping that he wouldn’t agree to return if he wasn’t ready to do those things. If Tarzan can lean into his affable, loyal tribe provider role in the early going, it could put him in a position to lure his opponents into a false sense of security. And who knows, perhaps Tarzan could swing his way through the jungle all the way to the end.
MARTIN’S FINAL PICK
SEASON 4 – CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS II
I was surprised that John Eastoe was still on the board at this late stage and so I’m more than happy to take him as my final pick. Is he the most dynamic of Survivor players? No. But he is a likable presence around camp and strong in challenges, which should make him a valuable asset in the neverending saga that is an Australian Survivor pre-merge. While he has the target of being one of the most recent players, he doesn’t have to overcome that “sneaky strategist” tag, which is attached to his fellow season 4 players like David Genat and Harry Hills.
The biggest obstacle for John is the post-merge game. The strengths that help him in the pre-merge (his likability, his challenge prowess) suddenly become the things that make him a target. It’s kind of what happened in his first season. John was a comfortable part of the majority both on the Contenders tribe and the post-swap Champions tribe, using his down-to-earth charm and humor to ingratiate himself with friends and foes alike. But after the merge, those qualities weren’t enough to help him overcome a numbers deficit; they just made it more of a threat to sit next to at the end. He soon found himself taking the walk of shame to Jury Villa, no doubt to scoff on a Mexican chicken parma.
This time around, I need to see John turn up the ruthlessness a little. He can still work his charm and boss the challenges, but he also needs to play the game at camp. He needs to cut those deals and shore up those allies so that he has back-up when the times get tough. Much like with Tarzan, I’m not sure if John has that side to him, but it may be forced out of him regardless given the make-up of this cast.
DYLAN’S FINAL PICK
This season 1 runner-up is probably better known for leaving Australian Survivor with a relationship with a fellow contestant (El Rowland) and being the spokesperson for the Holden Trailblazer than anything he actually did on the show. But don’t let that overpriced and over-engineered car fool you, he is neither over-engineered or trailblazing in how he approaches the game. However, with a safety rating of 5 stars, perhaps the only similarity we can draw between him and the car is that he will play a safe predictable game.
I round out my team with someone who I expect great challenge performances and a slew of skills to help out around camp. The best-case scenario for Lee would be some condescending comments about all the snakes in the game and vindication for Nick when he votes him off.
ALICE’S FINAL PICK
SEASON 4 – CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS II
Daisy is playing All Stars fresh out of the 2019 season, which is a blessing and a curse. None of the castaways outside of her season have really seen how she plays (I believe All Stars started filming before the season 4 post-merge began airing), and so she can play similarly without too many obstacles or expectations. However, she also hasn’t had a chance to reflect on her game or receive any feedback about how to improve her strategy.
She had some good moments during her season, but she also had periods where she seemed to be more of someone’s sidekick than a player in her own right. Following the tribe swap, Daisy recognised two things: firstly, that her original tribe members comprised the majority and secondly that she was on the bottom of that majority. Daisy was separated from her number one ally and wanted to do something to optimise her chances of staying in the game long enough to get back to him. She ran to the other side and helped fuel a flip that made her better situated. But as the game wore on, Daisy started to get a reputation for being emotional, which didn’t endear her to other castaways.
Apart from being amiable and outgoing, I’m not particularly sure why Daisy is back. She was loyal to her closest allies in her first season, which could make her an attractive ally if she can downplay her emotional decision making from the first season. She also found two hidden immunity idols, which may be a useful skill for herself and her allies. Am I surprised to see Daisy return? A little? She has a colourful personality, which is more than can be said for most of the other female Contenders from her season. Do I think she can win? It’s not impossible, but I think Daisy is destined to be a jury member again, especially if she becomes too emotional like she did in her first run through.
AUSTIN’S FINAL PICK
When I chose Jacqui, I was weighing up between her and Daisy, so I’m a little bummed Alice snatched her up at the last minute! But Jericho is still a great consolation prize for the last, default pick of the draft. Do I think Jericho can win again? Not in the slightest. But is he an entertaining character who could make the most of his return appearance and could still emerge as a key player in the season if he gets lucky? Absolutely. Simply put, I just can’t imagine All Stars giving us a double crown. Two to twenty-two, the odds aren’t great, and while I don’t expect a US All Stars mentality to pervade to oust the winners first, I think it could make both Jericho and Shane easy targets if they don’t have anything else going for them.
And that’s where Jericho’s chance lie. In his first season, he was a troublemaker with his Cookie Monster schtick, but what really propelled him to the end was being able to play little brother to Luke. And then survive and manipulate his way through the last few votes to sit next to someone relatively unpopular in Tara. For Jericho to make a deep run this time out, he’ll need to insulate himself as a critical ally to others and make himself an asset they won’t want to lose; someone they’ll choose to save if they can. It’ll be a tall order—even though his beta style of gameplay can be easily overlooked, his winner status can’t. But at the very least, I think Jericho’s skills make it likely that he’ll survive longer in the game than his other winner counterpart.
Australian Survivor All Stars premieres on Network 10 on Monday, February 3.