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EXCLUSIVE: Step aside Stu, Mack thinks this is the new dark horse set to steal Sophie's heart

We didn't see this coming but we're so down with his prediction!

Don’t you hate it when your celebrity crush friend zones you?

Poor Mackane Reid has been habouring a long-standing love for Sophie Monk for over a decade but on tonight's episode of The Bachelorette Australia, his dreams were crushed when the former Bardot stunner sent him packing with Luke McLeod.

But nothing can bring the Mac Attack down and when we caught up with the reality star, he was so damn stoked to even be able to call Miss Monk a friend it warmed our insides.

Here, the happy-go-lucky Bachelor opens up about falling for Sophie, the dark horse he thinks will win and why he refuses to talk about pot plant gate...

Mackane Reid , 35, small business owner, WA

How did it feel to watch your eviction back tonight and how did it all go down when you didn't get a rose?
It brought back those feelings and emotions once again. But do you know what? For me, it was a blessing. She took me out of the rose ceremony room, started crying and gave me a series of compliments and she mentioned to me how much of a gentleman I was, which I was truly touched by.

Then she said, “I consider you a good friend!” And I was really touched by that. To look her in the eyes and hear her say that about me… I’m really blessed to have her in my life. I think that’s what I said to her! I’m the luckiest man alive, I now have Sophie Monk as a good friend!

I’m really close to all of the guys in the house so whoever she ends up with, I’ll be supportive of it. I think it was a great way to go. I couldn’t be happier with how I was sent home!

You’ve had a crush on Sophie for yonks, how much did it hurt to be sent home?
Yeah, it did hurt. Of course it hurt. It’s well-known now that I’ve had a crush on Sophie for a long time!

I did start to develop feelings for her but I was there to see if we were compatible and it takes two to tango with compatibility. And obviously she didn’t see a future partner with me and I’m completely cool with that.

With the caliber of gentleman inside the mansion that she has to choose from, it’s completely understandable.

Were your feelings real or was it more the fact you were dating your celebrity crush?
My feelings were definitely genuine. I was in there for a period of time and it’s an emotionally intense environment in there.

Seeing Sophie only every four or five days - and she was always dressed to the nines and looked so glamorous! The longer I was in the mansion for, the stronger my feelings became.

But they weren’t mutual! She had choice, we didn’t. None of us had any choice in there, we only had one choice. It was fantastic it was Sophie because she has so many awesome qualities that I really admire.

To stay friends with Sophie is a real blessing and I’m chuffed!

What was it like to finally get some one-on-one time at the onesie party only to be sent home shortly after?
It hurt. But again I’ll say that the compatibility wasn’t there. From the outset I could see that there wasn’t the twinkle in the eye there for her [when she was with me.]

And I couldn’t definitely see that she was more interested in a few of my brothers and newfound peers! That one-on-one time only clarified that and I knew it was a matter of time until I was going home.

"The longer I was in the mansion for, the stronger my feelings became," he tells us.
"The longer I was in the mansion for, the stronger my feelings became," he tells us.

There’s intense speculation Stu is the obvious winner, do you think he has it in the bag or do you have a different theory?
You can understand why Stu is the front-runner – he’s older than Sophie, you can see the spark there.

But really, before Stu came into the mansion I’d actually seen the connection between my very good friend Jimmy and her! Australia loves Jimmy, he’s an absolute sweetheart and I really see a spark between those two and I really think he can go the whole way. That’s what I thought as I left that night.

I really believe that they can make it work! I can see it happening for them.

There’s been a lot of pot plan buzz, did you have anything to do with pot plant gate?
To be perfectly honest, I think it was a storm in a teacup. I think it was Jarrod trying to steal the spotlight once again. It was a real non-issue for me.

We’re talking about a pot plant! I cannot believe it’s been a massive saga within the whole Bachelorette world. To me, it was a non-issue. But I must admit, it made great television.

What was your opinion on Jarrod?
I don’t know if I can comment on that… He is as intense as he seems, it not more so. If I was going to say anything, it would be to Jarrod’s face.

We were very different individuals, he’s quite opinionated whereas I don’t air my opinions as much as he does. You can tell as a viewer there’s a rivalry between Jarrod and a few of the guys.

WATCH: Sophie lets slip who wins! Post continues after the video...

Mac says he's honoured to be able to call Sophie Monk his friend!
Mac says he's honoured to be able to call Sophie Monk his friend!
But ultimately, they weren't compatible.
But ultimately, they weren't compatible.

Who are your new BFFs that you fell for?
Oh my goodness, I’m going to name quite a few! Blake and I are very close, even though we are polar opposites. I admire him for being so outspoken.

Jimmy I got very, very close to. We were like the spiritual gurus. We liked to mediate and do yoga together. Same with Luke! Luke and I were very, very close. Obviously we left at the same time and I’m glad we were there for one another.

Apollo is like my little brother. I absolutely adore him! We have a lot love for one another and I’m looking forward to introducing him to all my family and friends on the west coast.

Ryan has been portrayed really badly but he’s an absolute gentleman. Also Sam, I love him and always will! He’s not everyone’s flavour but he was a highlight for me. And the intruders as well! AJ’s a sweetheart, Stu is an absolute champion. Hopefully we’re going to catch up in the outside world and talk business.

I was the lover of everyone there and I loved that environment and connecting with everyone.

You’re so upbeat and positive but was there anything you struggled with in the house?
The first two weeks I did really struggle! A few things I learnt – I need to be by the ocean. I didn’t have it for five weeks, I’ve grown up by the ocean and I’m an ocean baby. It soothes my soul so I really struggled with that.

There were days on end where you’d go without female communication and it’s got nothing to do with intimacy or sex, it’s just communicating with females. Like going into a coffee shop and saying, “Hi, how are you going?”

Every weekend we didn’t get to see any females so I really struggled with that. And no contact with my beautiful family. My mother and father are my rocks and two best friends and I communicate with them on a daily basis.

I also struggled with no sleep, my sleep patterns were really askew.

His real love affair was with his co-stars, who he calls "his brothers."
His real love affair was with his co-stars, who he calls "his brothers."

How’s your love life post-Bachie?
Nothing serious, I’m pretty much a single man. I’ve been under strict guidelines that I can’t really go out and start dating!

I’m loving life being single. I’m very, very content! I run a little business here in Freemantle and Perth and I have so many awesome people that I love in my life. Being single is OK with me. I love to find love, I’m not actively seeking a relationship but I’m completely open to it.

Who is your ideal girl, a Sophie Monk lookalike?
[Laughs] It’s all about compatibility at the end of the day.

If history says anything, I usually go for tall blondes. But I don’t discriminate when it comes to finding my potential partner it’s all about that spark, communication and intimacy.

It’s all about that first kiss, that’s when I can usually tell but I didn’t get that with Sophie.