On Sunday, the Heroes tribe were at war with themselves as King George’s reign was challenged by his closest allies, Liz and Shonee. Having gotten closer to Flick over the last few days, the dynamic duo ‘Shiz’ wanted to save her at the next vote. But George had other ideas after Matt had pitched himself as the perfect double agent.
Neither side was willing to budge, so at tribal council, Liz offered George the ultimatum that she’d play her idol for Flick if he refused to budge on the vote.
Looking for a way that both sides of the alliance could walk away from tribal happy, George offered Steve as a compromise.
“It is an absolute blindside,” Steve told 10 Play, adding that often players will have a bit of an inkling that their neck is on the chopping block but the way that this all went down, Steve had no time to mount a defence.
“When you’re on the chopping block you can feel it,” he explained, “people treat you differently. At that time, I felt no different. I was still strategising with George.”
It was heartbreaking to watch during tribal council as Steve lamented how difficult the decision between Flick and Matt was for him to make. “We are only as strong as we are together, united. If we are divided, we fail,” he said at the time, while his closest allies were whispering about voting him out behind him.
“As I was busy trying to answer JLP’s questions I could see something is a bit amiss, but it was far too late,” he said. “There was no way I could defend myself when it’s just on the spot like that. I saw it coming, it was just too late,” Steve added.
“I just felt that something was wrong.”
While the first few votes were for Flick and Matt, things quickly turned as the remaining votes all read Stevie’s name. As soon as he realised what was happening he said he felt “overwhelming disappointment”.
“I just could not believe they went after me,” Steve said. “After all the things I did for them, the alliance and also my contributions to the tribe — whether it’s Villains 1.0 or Heroes 2.0, I did my bit. I wasn’t playing mister nice guy, I was just trying to get past merge.”
In his original season, Steve said he couldn’t get past tribe swap, so coming back for a second chance at the game his sights were set on making it past merge.
“I wanted to show myself I could get to merge. And I failed by just one day,” he said. “I just couldn’t figure out the strategy… I couldn’t understand why. Why now? One day before the merge and all the good stuff I can do for the alliance.
“Why take out a number? One less vote that is just so critical, so paramount after the merge, it just doesn’t make sense.”
During the season, Steve was integral to what is widely considered one of the best tribal councils across the Survivor franchise, where George took aim at and blew the OG Villains tribe apart.
Describing it as a “turning point” for his game, Steve spoke so highly of George — calling him one of the best players Australian Survivor has ever produced.
“That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to take him out early because he was a threat to all of us,” Steve explained. Right before that now-infamous tribal council, Steve took George aside to have a one-on-one conversation.
“I thought I better butter him up, say what I said and appease his ego before we walked to tribal, just as my insurance,” he said. “Just to make sure, if things went pear-shaped, I’ve got something.” The chat clearly seemed to work, as George managed to flip the tribe, saving Steve and flipping him over so the pair could work together.
But having worked together since that moment, Steve said it meant that his blindside hurt even more and he was shattered by his alliance’s betrayal.
“I couldn’t even look Jonathan in the eye when I had to present my torch, I just felt… how could this happen?”
Looking back, Steve said he regretted always prioritising the plan, the ‘mission’ and not his own game first.
“In my quest to follow through the tactics for tribal, sometimes I forgot about myself because I just really wanted to get the plan through. Next time, I would put me first,” he said.
“I must say, despite what happened to me, there’s nothing that would stop me from saying Australian Survivor is the greatest game ever, in the whole goddamn universe,” he continued. “It is the hardest game there is and you have to be in it to understand where I’m coming from.
“There are no hard feelings, this is just a game. For those people who show compassion about my outing, don’t! That’s the way it is. That’s the way the game is played and I think as time goes by, Australian Survivor will get even better and better,” Steve said.
“I know I’m a bit biased because I’m in it, but this one is the best season of them all in Australian Survivor… I can’t wait to see what happens after merge.”
Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains airs Sunday - Tuesday at 7.30 on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand