“Game Recognise Game”: ‘Australian Survivor’s’ Joey McCann on Hayley’s Flawless Strategy

Joey Survivor

Welcome to the ‘Survivor Five’ — where we asked each contestant eliminated from Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawn five questions about their time in one of the most gruelling reality competitions in the world.

In a move that no one saw coming, unofficial Brains Tribe leader Joey McCann was voted out of Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawnafter a sneaky and stunning play from Hayley who simultaneously orchestrated McCann’s exit while holding onto her Immunity Idol.

“I completely did not see it,” McCann told The Latch with his trademark cheery demeanour. “You know, my life flashed before my very eyes. It was crazy. It was just like an out of body experience!”

“I was out there to set a blindside record, I wanted to take everyone out! But to have been taken out the way I did — game recognise game and Hayley definitely bought her A-game on that afternoon.

“I think her finding the idol definitely sprung her into action and gave her the confidence to sort of take that shot,” he said. “And, look, if you’re going to take a shot in the game of Survivor, you don’t want to miss because you create it, and then you’ve got the biggest target on your back.

“Hayley is a savvy player and she’s been a fan of the show and the game her whole life,  which I didn’t know at the time. I would have been a bit warier of her if I had known.

“She definitely didn’t miss, so hats off to Hayley — it was a beautiful move.

What did you do to prepare before going on the show?

“For me, I’ve run 250-300km Ultra Marathons across some of the most inhospitable places on earth and I run 15-20kms every day, so physically I’m always in good shape.

“I think in terms of the mental side of it, with all the running, you do build up mental resilience. But I think in the corporate world, and in my day to day life in Bondi, flapping around those social channels, I felt like I didn’t have to overthink it. I’m just playing to my strengths, which is: I’m a people person. I’m an endurance athlete. I’m going to play to those strengths.

“So, I think I felt like I was already prepared. I didn’t need to overthink it. But probably the one thing I should have done a little bit differently was treating Survivor more like an Ultra Marathon and not go so hard so early.

“I treated it like it was a 5km sprint and it came back to bite me!”

If you’d been in the game longer, what would we have been able to see from you?

“I think for me, I obviously put myself out there as a bit of a leader of the crew probably too early in the game, I should have played the middle a little bit better.

“But even the alliance I fell into wasn’t like a big planned strategy. I just fell in with some good fun people that, you know, I could have a laugh with. But at the same time, they were good people that had a pretty good alignment of ‘let’s take people out of this because, at the end of the day, there’s only one winner.

“We were happy to kind of advance forward as far as we could as an alliance, and then turn on each other at the end — that was the plan but unfortunately, probably two of the late additions to our alliance didn’t like the feeling of being at the bottom of it.

“So they made a move and, again, that hidden immunity idol that was found in the challenge probably set that off that chain of events.”

What moves do the Brains tribe need to make next in order to finally get rid of George?

“Obviously, we’ve seen a snippet for tomorrow and the two tribes do get integrated. It’ll be interesting to see who lands where because there’s obviously some sort of factions in the Brawn Tribe, which we didn’t know while we were out there.

“But I think from outside there’s obviously a bit of division — usually formed around George’s antics. But I think I think that with the Brains tribe, it’ll just depend on where they land.

“Obviously, George has a good alliance with Cara and Cara has been in the Brawn Tribe for a couple of days. So it’ll be interesting to see where everyone lands, because ultimately, you know, it’s almost like a bit of a reset of the game to a certain extent when the tribes get swapped, because everything, all the dynamics that exist on both tribes today, they all change tomorrow when those tribes come together.”

What was the most difficult or surprising element for you?

“I’m one of those people who lives by the saying “choose your energy” so it doesn’t matter,  I could be out there for 250 days, I’m still going to be smiling, still having fun with it still bringing the energy.

“That energy, I think, was part of my game plan: infect people with it and make me the inconceivable vote. Like, why would you vote off a guy that brings so much positivity to the tribe?

“But I think Haley obviously saw that I was a big threat and thought, ‘we’ve got to get rid of him now or we never will. Again, she shot her shot. She didn’t miss. Game over for Joey.”

What’s your top tip for the next group of Survivors?

“At the end of the day, you’ve always got to be on the right side of the numbers, but it’s a game of fluidity.  I feel like we got a little bit hell-bent on just getting George out of the game when we should have probably been playing and looking beyond that.

“For anyone new playing it, don’t go to the top too early! There is no such thing as a Teflon, diamond Survivor.

“Everyone can be got, but I think you’ve just got to make sure that you’re really keeping an eye on all the players, all the dynamics, all the conversations, and I think you’ve got to potentially keep your enemies close as well because, again, they could become an ally at some point. So, yeah, it is a crazy game.”

Australian Survivor: Brains Vs. Brawn airs Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.

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