'I Wanted To Get My Hands Dirty': Michael Warren Has No Regrets Playing A Hard Game

The journalist set his sights on the biggest targets on the Villains tribe, and he wasn't going to waste a second not gunning for them.

After losing their second Immunity Challenge in a row, the Villains returned to Tribal Council, which became heated as Michael and his number one target George fought to stay in the game.

Playing the game of Survivor was a dream 20 years in the making for Michael who told 10 Play he remembered watching the original US seasons back when it first started airing.

"[I] became engrossed by this show about humans trying to outwit, outplay, outlast each other and get to the end," Michael explained. "I'm part of a special season and I'm delighted by it. I own my gameplay, I don't step away from it, and I'm not apologetic about how I played. I couldn't be more happy, to be honest.

"I just wanted to go out there and play a bold, adventurous game and go hard," Michael said, "I didn't see it as a holiday, I saw it as an opportunity to live a 20-year dream and that meant taking out the biggest threats in front of me."

Landing on the Villains tribe, Michael said he never intended to play a Heroes-type game that focused on mateship, integrity and "all the wonderful things in life".

"That's the way I live my life outside of Survivor but inside I wanted to get my hands dirty and make an impact," he explained.

"Being on the Villains' tribe you're going to get up to more mischief... I've always admired players in Survivor that don't play by the rules, that just go out there and play the way they want without consequence or fear of failure."

In Michael's mind, one winner means everyone else is a loser, so there isn't a lot of room for cultivating mateship when the game requires you to vote each other out.

"You can pontificate about values and mateship and trying to play a clean game, but everyone... at some point has to turn on each other. That’s the game!"

From the outset, Michael wanted to take out the Villans' biggest target, George, but unforeseen circumstances got in his way. In the very first Immunity Challenge, both George and Jackie suffered injuries that saw them removed from the game. Unfortunately, Jackie was unable to return to the game, but after a brief absence, George was medically cleared to come back.

Michael said, had George not been injured in the first challenge, it would have been a clear shot to vote him out in the first Tribal Council.

"How stupid would it be to overlook someone who went deep last [season]," he added. "I knew his gameplay, I knew how dangerous he was and I wasn't going to have him play a role in my demise.

"I wanted to take him out immediately, punch early, punch hard," Michael continued. "He was the number one threat and I did everything I could to send him home."

Returning to the game sporting quite the scar, George found refuge in Shonee, who wanted to use the King as a shield for herself. Once Shonee started to campaign to keep George around, Michael said he knew his neck was on the chopping block.

"It's not really groundbreaking strategy," he added, "I knew I was in trouble, I sensed it... I saw Simon starting to waver... I knew Simon would just do what the group wanted to do at the end of the day."

During Tribal Council, Michael still refused to pull his punches and put George on blast for his performance during the challenge's puzzle. "Once they saw how ruthless I was, they didn't want to be a player like that so I guess I was an easy boot, wasn't I?"

While his style of playing the game may have polarised even his own tribe of big characters, Michael said if he had his time over again there's very little he'd change.

"Did I play a bold, daring, adventurous game? Yes. Did I try and take out the main threats in front of me? Yes. The short answer is I wouldn't do a thing differently.

"My biggest hate is when players say, 'I should have done this, this, this and this'. Well, you had the chance to do that but you didn't have the conviction or strength of mind to do that, so I leave with zero regrets to be very honest with you," Michael continued.

"It's easy for people to say jeez, this guy is coming hard... I'm unapologetic. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I wasn't going to waste a second not playing the game."

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