Both tribes were sending one player home… or so they thought. After the votes came in and both Laura and Shannon were on the chopping block, JLP revealed that only one would go home and winners of the individual immunity challenge, Wai, Emmett, Andrew and Rachel, would choose who to save.
But first, there was a trail of chaos leading up to the Tribal Council, starting at Shannon’s first tribal. Her strong social game unknowingly painted a target on her back, sparking a feud between herself and Simon, which ultimately led to her downfall.
“I didn’t realise I would have to play so hard, so quickly against Simon. It’s very hard to go sit in the middle and hide for a little bit once your name’s been put out there for everyone to see,” Shannon told 10 play.
“When it came to his personality – I’m self-employed, I don’t like having a boss of me. I like to have a shared voice. But he was just dominating the tribe from the get go, so when I saw my name in that urn and lived to fight another day, I saw him as my target and I just wanted to get rid of him so badly so I could free up my moves and my game, and focus on my strategy.”
Knowing how big a threat Simon was, her desire to get him eliminated distracted her from everything else. So, when her new tribemate Hayley revealed her plan to play scissors paper rock with her idol and use it on either Baden or herself, the small crack between Shannon and Simon grew deeper.
“It was a good move by Hayley to divide the Brawns up and I wish we all saw it coming, but with the fraction between Simon and I, we only saw each other, we didn’t see the bigger picture. It wasn’t really a move that I needed to assess. I saw Hayley more as a friend than an enemy, I wanted to side with her and I was happy she was directing the vote, because I had the same line of thought as her and hopefully would get one of Simon’s three out.”
But at the time, Shannon didn’t know that Simon had already worked his magic on Hayley and convinced her to side with him.
“It was sort of the last nail in my coffin when Simon pitched to Hayley. They were both on the same playing field with the idols they had, and I had no power to bribe her.”
But Shannon didn’t give up, and she tried to convince Hayley to vote for Chelsea, who was a part of Simon’s close alliance.
“Chelsea just seemed to be the extra brick in their wall and I just wanted to pull it out so that the rest could crumble. She seemed like an easy vote because she was going to be physically dominant in merge, playing individual challenges and I thought I could play that off to Hayley and say, ‘Chelsea’s quite physically fit, are you going to be able to take her on?’”
When the double Tribal Council came, Shannon’s plan didn’t run as smoothly as she hoped.
“Sitting there with a full house, the energy was completely alive and sort of unnerving in a sense, because we got an inside look into everyone’s gameplay. No one was hiding behind their tribe or a shield, everything was open and everyone got to speak and listen and we were all pretty excited to have a full family therapy session.”
“But in the back row, I started to see their plan unfold. There was a lot of knee taps and looks and things that you catch, and from the back row I had a clear line of sight and felt something fishy was up and everyone's got a bloody immunity, but I don’t. I’m a little outnumbered with my choices and I think tribe swap could have been good, but it ended up blowing up my game.”
With the winners of the individual immunity challenge divided between saving Laura and Shannon it looked like the two castaways would face a fire-making challenge to determine their fate. Then Simon spoke out.
“I was so surprised that Emmett and Wai were in my corner, it felt really good. Going up against Laura, if we had gone to fire, I just knew in my gut I would have won that. But then Simon speaks up and says I tried to turn on my own team and honestly, it happened so quickly, I couldn’t get a word in. Before I knew it, JLP is saying, ‘Okay, raise your hands. Do we want to get rid of Shannon or Laura?’”
Shannon’s only regret was not finding her voice prior to having her torch snuffed.
“I wish I had more time to pitch because I think truly I could have saved myself and convinced Wai and Emmett to pick me over Laura, but it didn’t happen that way. You get that punch in the gut and black out and before you know it, you’re standing before your torch and its being snuffed.”
Her Survivor journey took her on a wild ride, where she admitted she had learnt so much more about herself.
“It was such a growing experience. Take away all the luxuries of life and you really got to dig deep. I definitely found my voice, I don’t like conflict but I try to hit it head on and I don’t let my emotions get the better of me. Being a chameleon, thinking on my feet and also just finding out I have a bit of a competitive edge was kind of uplifting. Overall, it was very empowering and I definitely think it made me a better person over all.”
Looking back, Shannon said the one thing she wished she paid more attention to was… the sleeping arrangements.
“I think the most telling truth to the whole experience is watching where you sleep at night. I look back and I wish I had noticed the sleeping arrangements more closely, because that’s literally where the divide in the alliances were! I wish I picked up on the subtleties that were right in front of me when sleeping with the enemy. It was right there and so telling and I just didn’t pick up on it quick enough,” Shannon laughed.
Being on Survivor was “everything and more”. Shannon loved living in nature and being physically and mentally challenged in the Aussie Outback.
“Waking up to kangaroos and going to sleep under the stars, you can’t write that stuff, it was an amazing experience.”