“It Felt Like Time Stood Still”: Gavin Wanganeen on His Shock Exit From ‘Australian Survivor’

Gavin Wanganeen

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.

AFL legend Gavin Wanganeen of the Brawns tribe became the third person eliminated from Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawnafter the Brains tribe once again used their smarts to win immunity for themselves.

Faced with sending another of their own home, the Brawn tribe convened for their tribal council only to discover that Kez, who was a sitting duck to be voted off, had found herself an immunity idol which she, of course, played.

Thanks to Flick’s alliance, Gavin’s fate was sealed with the sporting great handing back his torch.

“When Kez pulled out the idol, I thought that one of our alliance members would be vulnerable — but I didn’t think it would be me!”, he told The Latch following his departure.

“It was a huge shock, it really was. It felt like time stood still and the only thing I could remember or hear was Flick saying ‘sorry Gav’ and it felt like an eternity as she was saying it.”

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

“I watched as many episodes from the previous seasons as I could to gain a bit more experience around tribal councils and alliances. I think that served me well but I think I’m far better off now that I’ve experienced it firsthand.

“I think I’m a much better player on the other side just for having actually experienced it in person and just knowing how important it is to be on the right side of the numbers from an alliance perspective.

“Leading in I did a bit of fitness work, strengthened the legs and the core because the challenge side of things was something I was really gearing up for.”

What was more gruelling, preparing for an AFL game or prepping for Australian Survivor?

“Preparing for professional football is pretty gruelling and intense! It’s full-on.”

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

“In terms of gameplay and strategy, there were some people that I would have wanted to be working with and creating a better path for our alliance and how we could strengthen it.

“You’ve got to be agile with this game and because we were on the wrong side of numbers we really had to get to know some of the other alliance members a bit deeper so that would have been the next plan.

“For me, I would have gotten to know Benny a bit better. He’s someone I could have worked with. So that would have been the first one and then, as you go along, you’ve just got to make a move as you see it.

“I had envisioned getting myself to merge because I feel I made some good relationships so it just goes to show in this game, you need a bit of luck early on especially when it’s really frantic in that early part of the game.”

What was the most difficult or surprising element for you?

“The sleeping arrangements was one of the toughest. That dirt is so hard, it’s like concrete and it got so cold at night. It was freezing at night, which was really hard and really hot in the day.

“So that combination of heat during the day and cold at night was really tough plus lack of sleep and lack of bedding all those wrapped up in one was a serious challenge.”

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

“Early days are really tricky to make sure you pick the right people to work with in an alliance and make sure you’re on the right side of the numbers.

“Make sure you go 7/5 right from the get-go. Don’t go 6/6 because that’s a struggle, you’ve got to get seven on board from the get-go. And that’ll give you a good start going forward.”

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

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