He's the high school teacher by day and a pro-wrestler by night but Matt was the eleventh person voted out of Australian Survivor on Sunday night.
The feisty Contender knew he was in trouble when the Champions' alliance became too strong and was probably the most loyal player we saw this season but surprised everyone when he voted for fellow Contender Harry at the last tribal council.
Now, Matt exclusively reveals why he did it and the reason may surprise you.
TV WEEK: Matt, we're so sad to see you go! You seemed pretty sure you were on the chopping block though.
Matt: We knew we were in a bit of trouble once the immunity challenge finished. I didn't know that Harry had the idol yet and then when we went back to camp and I found out, we had to sit down and try and make some plan because we knew we had none!
TV WEEK: Was there a moment when you thought Pia was going home?
Matt: A little bit. I really thought that we could trick Ross into doing something for fun because he's that kind of guy, he's kind of out there. And it was an opportunity for Simon to make a big move, he hadn't really done any yet. There was a slight part of me but to be honest but I had a feeling I was going home pretty much the whole day. We didn't have an option really, I didn't play the game badly, I didn't get blindsided, sometimes alliances are strong and unfortunately I became a victim to that.
TV WEEK: Would you have preferred to have been blindsided?
Matt: Yeah, that's kind of the fun of Survivor, you don't know it's coming. Whereas I was sitting at the beach all day thinking 'I'm gone, I'm definitely gone.'
TV WEEK: Is Janine the biggest threat in the game?
Matt: To be honest I think the biggest threat in the game is Harry. Harry is the best Survivor player that I've ever seen and I've watched a lot of seasons. Luckily for me I was on his team so he wasn't working against me.
But Janine is very smart and she's very political at tribal councils. She wants to make sure everyone feels they're all on even playing fields but they're definitely not and she's running the show.
TV WEEK: Your goodbye to Harry was particularly cute, is your money on him to win?
Matt: One hundred per cent. I don't see anyone else who can outsmart Harry, he just knows the game inside and out. Especially with challenges, he's not a challenge threat per se but a lot of times he's not the focus point so if he can be as smart as he has been so far I reckon he's going to go really well.
TV WEEK: You were probably the most loyal player we've seen and said many times you want a Contender to win. So how come you chose to vote for Harry in the last tribal council?
Matt: I knew that Casey was going to throw us under the bus. When we made up our plan that was going to work, she went straight over and talked to the Champions so I basically told Harry 'You have to play the idol for yourself, don't give it to her,' and then me voting for Harry was so that if they read all the votes out for Harry then seeing the numbers, the Champions would see that I voted for him and that I was with them.
So it was basically a way to play both sides- to get trust with the Champions but also keep Harry around because I knew his vote wasn't going to count anyway. Everyone thought I was being really mean and trying to get rid of him but I was telling him to play his idol.
TV WEEK: You got very competitive on the show and were very vocal about it. Which challenge was your favourite?
Matt: I did get very competitive at the challenges but outside of that I chill out a little bit more! But it's fun, where's the fun in acting like it doesn't matter? I enjoyed that part.
My favourite was the first one, definitely the wrestling in the sand. I walked out and saw the sand and having a martial arts and wrestling background that was one I definitely wanted to do. Luke and I were out there for about 10 minutes, that was easily my favourite one.
David has a martial arts background as well so we actually had a bit of a tussle in the AFL water challenge and I thought 'He knows what he's doing here!' so it would've been interesting if we'd been paired up.
TV WEEK: You had some cracking one-liners too like comparing Hannah to a torn up ugg boot in challenges. What's the reaction been like to those?
Matt: I guess it's almost been about 50/50. Some people will hate some of the things I say and take it a little bit too seriously. You notice early on some of the other players were a bit offended but later on they all enjoyed it. It's part of the game and even Hannah put a thing on Instagram of a torn ugg boot so I think they all took it in their stride, it's a bit of fun.
TV WEEK: Despite the politics of the game, the contestants all seem like a fun bunch.
Matt: I went in there expecting not to get along with anyone and turned out I got along with pretty much everyone and there are people that I speak to still so it actually worked out quite well. I talk to Harry pretty much every day, Baden and Shaun I'm very close to and they came to watch me wrestle a few weeks ago and I still talk to Sarah. We have a group chat too, I've reached out to Luke too but I won't let anyone know what we've said there!
TV WEEK: You're a high school teacher, how have your students reacted to seeing you on the show?
Matt: They actually love it, I think I've turned them all into Survivor fans! I get in the classroom and the first 10 minutes of class they're asking questions like 'Why did you vote for this? What happened here?' I'm glad I've been able to pass on my Survivor love to the next generation. They're all telling me 'I'm going to go on Survivor, Sir!' and I'm like, 'Good luck!'
TV WEEK: You were on the island for almost four weeks, what was the toughest part about being on Survivor?
Matt: I think the hardest thing was the cold- Fiji is really nice during the day but at night it gets freezing so sleeping was really difficult. You have a day one outfit and then something like five extra items so it's really nothing, especially once you factor out swim shorts and a hat to protect you from the sun.
Luckily I had a jumper and tracksuit pants but Harry for example wasn't smart enough to bring long pants so that was my present to him when I left so he'd be able to get some sleep.
TV WEEK: The diet of rice and beans is pretty intense, did you lose much weight during your time on the show?
Matt: I lost 17 kilos, I didn't even notice it, it kind of just happened. Pretty much from when I left home to when I came back, it was tough trying to get all that back.
TV WEEK: That's heaps! What was the first thing you ate when you left to fill up?
Matt: I think the first thing was in the airport on the way home. They had a Burger King and I must've sat there for about an hour and a half and filled myself up. I couldn't really eat that much because my stomach had shrunk so much but that was a real treat! I was barely getting any rewards either.
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Australian Women's WeeklyJan 23, 2020