Runner-up’s ‘enormous mistake’
SHANE Gould has been crowned the winner of this year's Australian Survivor, beating out Sharn Coombes and taking home the $500,000 prize.
Both women had battled through 50 days on a remote island only to face off in their biggest challenge to date - pleading their case before the jury of past contestants that they had outwitted in order to make it to the final two.
An overjoyed Shane couldn't hide her joy as she was crowned the competition's winner, joking that she was excited to take home another accolade.
"It feels surreal. It's been a while since I've won an Olympic medal, and it was a challenge to see what I'm made of, to do something crazy!" Shane said.
"Don't f**k with Shane Gould!"
Many on the jury had questioned why Sharn chose to bring Shane to the final two rather than the decidedly less popular Brian Lake - surely a contestant she'd have had a better chance of beating.
In casting her vote for Shane, contestant Fenella called the decision an "enormous mistake" on Sharn's part.
#SurvivorAU fatal error not to take Brian to jury. Dumb, Sharn. Wats love gotta do with it .— Zella (@Zkuy8888) October 9, 2018
#SurvivorAU sharn it was yours to win!!! u thought loyalty will get you there by bringing in shane.. in d end it bite u in d arse.. u should have picked brian..— Lord Commander (@L0rd_C0mmand3r) October 9, 2018
Grubby got in Sharn's head and rattled her so badly she couldn't argue her case. Shane, on the other hand, handled herself magnificently and won them over. Congrats to our National Treasure #SurvivorAU— After Tribal (@AfterTribal) October 9, 2018
Putting their case before the jury Sharn was first up, arguing that she had kept "that core alliance I was loyal to" and "I never broke that trust".
But the criminal barrister was brought undone when her nemesis Brian reminded the jury of the role Sharn played when her ally Matt was voted out.
"You talk about honesty and loyalty, you started a strong alliance with Matt, Steve and Shane. And you thought that Matt's name was going to come up (at tribal council) did you tell him?" Brian asked.
"I didn't get an opportunity to tell him before that tribal council. I didn't know if he had an idol or not, Matt never told me that he had an idol," Sharn said.
"If Matt had told me he had an idol perhaps I would have told him I've heard some whispers, but I didn't know that."
"Do you think that's a break in trust or loyalty not finding time to speak to him?" Brian shot back.
"I apologise for that, I mean, it is - you know," Sharn stammered, appearing to struggled with how to explain herself.
"Because - but I was … I'm loyal OK?" She repeated. "It was a bad decision, the whole thing went pear-shaped."
Meanwhile former Olympian Shane put forward her record as a sportswoman, arguing that she hadn't hit below the belt during Survivor.
"I play with integrity, I play with my character … I deserve that recognition from you guys," she said.
However her record was challenged by Shonee Fairfax, who questioned whether Shane had cared about anyone else during her time on the reality show.
"I wonder if Shane knows where I live for most of the year?" Shonee asked.
But Shane fired back, answering correctly that Shonee divided her time between Australia and the UK and reminding her ally of how she had her back during the series.
"Do you remember how I saved you in the tribe swap?" Shane retorted.
Earlier, Shane, Sharn and fellow contestant Brian Lake battled it out in a nailbiting final immunity challenge, all playing for a guaranteed spot in the final two, and a chance to plead their case to the jury.
The three each had to stand on poles in the sea, balancing precariously and not taking their feet or hands off - not even for a second. One false move, and they'd be eliminated.
61-year-old Shane was the first to fold, announcing after an hour on her pole that she'd like to get down. "I just couldn't do it," she sighed.
From there, it was between Sharn - cool as a cucumber and barely moving - and Brian Lake, visibly struggling. Pain etched upon his face, Lake instead tried psyching out his competitor - then begging her.
One thoughtless action was his undoing: Grimacing in pain, sweat dripping down his face, Brian reached to take his hat off. It took a few seconds for him to realise what he'd just done - taken his hand off the pole, and lost the challenge.
At tribal council that night, Sharn, having won immunity, got to decide who she'd take to the final two with her. She choose close ally Shane - leaving Brian seething. "Predictable," he spat as he left the tribal council, muttering "second again" at Shane - a reference to her track record of coming second in challenges.
The petty parting swipe didn't go down well with viewers:
What a horrible thing for Brian to say to Shane Gould, she’s a national icon. Catch ya 👋🏼 #SurvivorAU— em (@em_drisc) October 9, 2018
Fancy having the hide to say 'second again' to Shane Gould.— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) October 9, 2018
Mate, it's Shane Gould. She wins for fun.
Those on the jury could barely contain their glee the game's "villain" was gone. "That's what happens when you don't treat people well," said one.
Last night's penultimate episode saw Shonee Fairfax eliminated, leaving barrister Sharn Coombes, former AFL footballer Brian Lake and Olympic champion Shane Gould to battle it out for $500,000 and the title of sole Survivor.