The Winners, Losers And Highlights From The Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains Pre-Swap

All hail George and Shonee.

Shannon Guss World Of Survivor byline

It’s been two and a half weeks since Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains started and we’ve watched nine episodes and about eleven hours of content since it all began. At this point, if the season isn’t consuming your every waking thought, you’re doing it wrong.

I thought I’d check in on where we’re at now that lines have been draw, gavels have been tapped and buffs have been dropped, with the Survivor auction ushering in the post-swap and, with it, the next phase of the game.

Biggest Winners

In the eternal proverbial kingdom that is Australian Survivor, the ultimate monarchs from this pre-swap have emerged as Shonee and George. From gathering momentum to call the shots on early Villains, together with fellow Spice Girl Liz, to blowing up the game in the Tribal Council of the season to ensure final control of the tribe, this duo is excelling. Their combined loot to this point includes three total Idols, with one still in Shonee’s possession, a myriad of blindsides and scalps, $60,000 and Stevie. We, the viewers, are also winners in being privy to their hilarious antics.

The Heroes side were, as predicted, a lot more stable, and the ultimate winner on that tribe is whichever cameraman they pay to film those close up ab shots (and, again, us, the viewers). For the ruling Meat Tray alliance, Shaun seems to be at the top and sitting particularly pretty (in every sense), with a secret Idol and so many buff men trying to connect with him he may as well be hanging out in a bar on the Gold Coast.

With the versatile backgrounds of the returnees, some smaller victories should be acknowledged too. Hayley survived the low bar of the winners’ curse – making it through one Tribal Council – and then some, as the Heroes targeted a combination of Ben, Gerry and some other newbie at seemingly every Tribal Council they went to.

Jordie’s resistance to his usual Joker-style brand of chaos did eventually lead to him turning on his closest ally and losing handily in that. However, his perennial role as the Villains’ resident referee, and an emotional call with partner Sam Frost, show his changed mindset as a father-to-be, and all the wins to come beyond the game.

Biggest Losers

The ultimate losers of the Heroes V Villains pre-swap have been the two major groups we predicted pre-season: the newbies and the Villains.

The newbies have accounted for all eight vote-outs in the game so far, squandering what was a 13-to-11-person advantage when the season started to now represent only five of the 15 spots left in the game. We’ve seen the returnees’ experience come to the fore, with power, connections and strategic acumen that has left the newbies as both fodder and collateral damage in the returnees’ wars.

Even for the few newbies that remain, Ben has been a constant target, saved by both an Idol and a twist, and Gerry’s clear basement position on the Heroes has only now turned a corner into a comfortable title in George and Shonee’s kingdom (as long as he doesn’t mind that title being Old Spice).

The Villains were also expectedly outmatched, beaten in the challenges nine out of 14 times, and escaping the pre-swap with little more than cookies and half their tribe to show for it. Within this, Liz was the only Villain newbie to survive. As for Simon, his Idol isn’t real, he’s been alienated from every friend and ally he had, and his war with George has been definitively lost. Let’s see how he can rally from here.

It's also been a difficult start for the female players, with seven women leaving through vote-outs and a medevac, compared to only two men. However, I still have my money on Australian Survivor’s famed parabolic women. While the alpha males often run the early game due to a reliance on brute strength, the surviving women can plan for carnage through the long middle game as the biggest physical targets fall. The five remaining women are each, in their own ways, stellar contenders.


It’s hard to go past the bottle episode that was episode seven’s overwhelming Tribal Council. Watching George adjust his plans on the spot was a thing to behold, as he lost Gerry at the beginning of the episode and then had to further pivot when Simon won a never-before-seen surprise Tribal Council challenge. Being able to drive chasms between the other Villain men, win allies and the true majority and manipulate most of the tribe with layered communication styles and a masterful plurality-style vote was King George at his very best.

The Villains’ overall chaos has led the entertainment. Despite a Cold War between Simon and George since the beginning, a combination of compromises, live Tribal Council havoc, Jordie and George’s extraordinarily fleeting treaty and shared returnee dominance has prolonged that anarchy into the next phase, with all the major parties still intact.

I’ve also enjoyed the complex twists that have left the players scrambling. The Villains were given the option to read the votes in the urn or leave them be when Jackie was taken out of the game for medical reasons in the first episode. Their ultra-villainous decision to read the votes caused a stir and tipped the dominoes to the Villains’ decimation, and I loved the drama and agency it put in their hands. Likewise, the decision of who the Heroes should send to Villains camp as a temporary spy/sacrifice was layered, cornering the Heroes into a challenging decision, one that has ultimately led Gerry to flip and send an OG hero home at the swap.

Plus, the classic Survivor Auction, a football challenge that I’m particularly partial to, a historic razor-thin challenge victory won through sign language and a hefty dose of hilarity led by the season’s funniest members has made this season an all-around fun time.


The Super Villains are the Monstars to the new Heroes’ Looney Tunes, and it seems unlikely they’ll ever go to Tribal Council. If they do, Liz’s allies and positioning, and Simon’s familiarly beefy physique, are opposing threats, while Hayley has been on their radar since day one.

On the new Heroes, George and Shonee look to be in firm control, with their pick of targets in physical assets turned merge liabilities in Flick or Matt, or an easy option in Ben, who didn’t approach them to align despite being besieged relentlessly by his own Heroes. Either way, they’ll be whittling down the opposite side to take on the Hero Goliaths at merge and, somehow, I have faith in them to prevail there too.

It’s George and Shonee’s world and we’re just living in it.

Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains airs Sunday - Tuesday at 7.30 on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand