Having found himself at the top of the pecking order in the Brains tribe, successfully making a move to get Mitch out of the tribe, Joey felt solid with his core alliance. So even when one of the fringe members of his alliance scored herself a major advantage, Joey never caught a whiff of blood in the water.
Speaking to 10 play after his torch was snuffed, Joey explained that in the early days he was happy to let Mitch take the leadership position. But after making the move to blindside the good doctor, Joey stepped into the head of the Majority Alliance.
“I think I probably should have made it a bit more diplomatic in some of the calls that we made, but at the end of the day it did feel good running the show for a little bit there,” he said, adding, “I was keen to run it for a whole lot longer.”
During the Immunity Challenge, Jonathan told both tribes that there was a hidden Immunity Idol stashed somewhere on the obstacle course. Individual players could, at any point, make a dash for the idol but would also ultimately slow down their tribe in doing so.
When George made a beeline for the idol, Hayley was quick on his heels. Thinking nothing of it, Joey said he initially chalked up Hayley’s move as a smart way to neutralise the potential of George finding another idol.
“Again it was George making a bold move to save himself… George is running off for the idol and where am I? At the back helping Rach up an obstacle. I’m playing the team player role!
“I think having that idol spurred Hayley to action. Without the idol, George goes home. With the idol in play, that spurred Hayley to make a big move,” Joey continued.
Hayley’s big move was so kept under wraps, when his torch was snuffed, Joey admitted he had no idea of the mechanics behind his own blindside.
“You’re playing it back in your head and, Hayley was the one with the big smile on her face. I think from Hayley, as a superfine, this is her move. This is a big tick on her resume early in the game.”
Seeing his name first pulled out of the voting urn, Joey said it didn’t worry him. But when the second slip of paper with his name on it was pulled out, everything began to change.
“I was like yep, something’s happening here. It kind of dawned on me like, here we go.”
Underestimating Hayley as a superfan, Joey said he can now see how calculated her move against him actually was.
“I think she saw me as obviously a physical guy, saw the fact that I had gone to the Brawn tribe — they chose me the day before — so she thought, if there are swaps, Joey’s social game is going to get him in with his core four plus whoever Brawn tribes he recruits… he’s going to be in a very strong position.
“I think it was a number of factors but, all in all, it was the finding of the idol that sealed my fate.”
One of those factors was the blindingly large target on George’s back. With the tribe attempting, again and again, to get his torch snuffed, Joey admitted that he became complacent heading into tribal believing that his alliance were all unified in their goal to get him out once and for all.
“It was a couple of hours of sloppy gameplay,” he said, laughing. “Hindsight’s a heck of a thing because I look back now and could kind of see Hayley talking to a few people, but at the time I just thought it was her making sure she was still friends with everyone.”
Looking back on his pre-Survivor strategy, Joey said he was selective with the season that he watched as research, which may have informed his gameplay a little too heavily.
“The one season I did watch properly was All Stars where I think the name of the game was big moves, so I was like oh this is how you play Survivor? I probably should have watched a few of the earlier ones, that might not have been the smartest decision.”
Find out what happens next on Australian Survivor on Sunday – Tuesday at 7:30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand.