“I Wasn’t Thinking About the Game”: ‘Australian Survivor’s’ Phil On Where They Went Wrong

Australian 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.

Hosted by Jonathan LaPaglia, this year the intense series was shot right here in Australia — in the harsh outback terrain of Cloncurry, Queensland where the temperatures can soar to the mid-40’s.

First up, it’s crochet aficionado Phil Ferguson from the Brains tribe, who was the first person to be voted off of the show.

What did you do to prepare before going on the show? Did you have a game plan?

“To prepare for the show, I did start regularly exercising four or five times a week and getting my fitness level up.

“I definitely listened to great podcasts and that sort of gave me insight into other people’s strategies, especially people who I thought were really similar to me. And especially concerning beginners, and people who’ve gone to the end on Australian Survivor who were similar archetypes to me — you know, not necessarily the strongest people. That was really helpful. People like Baden Gilbert, I feel like I would have fallen into the same pitfalls that he would have going into the game.

“I also gave up drinking and drinking coffee and just really sort of made sure I was at a good base level to have to deal with what was coming ahead.”

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

“I guess, sort of the reason why I wanted to sort of have that base level sort of mood and ability was because I always saw myself as someone who, if I got past those first initial tribal councils, I’d be able to fit in pretty well socially and be potentially like the glue of an alliance.

“Someone that everybody can relate to, even though they may not be able to get along with one another. And I always wanted to keep everyone together in that way. And obviously, I was only in the game for like 36 hours, I was only there a night, so I never really got the opportunity to form those bonds.”

Can you describe the intensity of the Australian outback?

“It’s kind of crazy because obviously, it’s our backyard and you would think that a lot of people have experienced that.

“It is boiling hot, the sun is searing, you can get burnt so easily if you’re not careful. It’s a whole lot of heat.

“Definitely a lot of creepy crawlies and all that sort of stuff. It’s just kind of funny because I grew up in the country in Southwest WA. So that sort of country vibe, I’m just so used to that. I would have done fine with elements had I stayed, it’s just the extreme hot and then at night, extreme cold, which, unfortunately for most of my tribemates, they all had pretty minimal clothing. So they all really, really froze.”

What was the most difficult or surprising element for you?

“I think the hardest part was the social side of it. I didn’t necessarily see this on the show, but everybody was really focused on you know, getting fire, fixing the shelter, and all this sort of stuff, and it kind of really threw me off. Because the typical sort of season that you see on screen is that everybody goes off and has these conversations really quickly.

“But the reality was that a large portion of that time was really focused on making sure that we were strong, and we had a proper shelter, and we did have a fire…we did have all these things.

“I think that was one of the reasons why we keep talking so much about strength and stuff like that, because we were really focusing on not even necessarily the challenges, but also our care plans as well.”

Who do you think is going to win, and who would you like to see win?

“The person that I really bonded with and who had a good sort of social understanding of what was happening around them was Hayley. She was definitely switched on and obviously, I voted for her at the tribal council because I saw her as almost the other version of me who was left behind.

“So I would definitely be rooting for her just because I do see a little bit of myself in there, especially as a super fan as well. So that’s who I’m rooting for.”

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

“I would say just play it from the start. Definitely just play from the start, you know, walk off with people and make those conversations happen because unfortunately for me, I was focusing very hard on helping the tribe but the reality was is that there were people walking around, finding advantages and finding things around the place and I could have done that.

“But instead, I wasn’t thinking about the game. I was thinking more of helping the camp. So yeah, I would probably say play it from the start and don’t think you have any time to do anything else because you really don’t.”

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

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