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Survivor

Australian Survivor's Nova Peris opens up about that shock blindside

''I thought Steve's head was on the chopping block.''

By Alex Lilly
She's an Olympic gold medallist and the first Indigenous woman to be elected to Commonwealth Parliament for the senate in the Northern Territory; as well as a holder of the Order of Australia and a former Young Australian of the Year.
But in one of the most shocking tribal's of the season, Nova Peris was the fourth person to leave Survivor Australia, going down in an explosive blindside.
Here she opens up about what really went down plus, who she thinks can go all the way to the end.
TV WEEK: Wow Nova that was one big blindside! Did you see it coming at all?
Nova: I guess I thought Steve's head was going to be on the chopping block because of what unfolded on the beach, you know for me coming out so strongly and defending Steve.
There were other conversations that would've unfolded that weren't shown where I called people out. Pia accused Steve of being a bully and I said to her and Abbey 'Shut your mouths you need to stop making false allegations in front of everyone towards Steven' and I wasn't going to have a bar of that.
For Abbey to say 'I'm keeping the strongest people together' is an absolute lie because I got voted out. When it comes to strength, I'd never lost a challenge out of anything, I won every single individual challenge.
If you want to talk about strength and everything, Pia was terrible at it. Janine couldn't own her own mistakes, for her to say 'Champions don't point the finger at each other,' in the milkshake industry that might happen but in the sporting world, that's bulls---. You make a mistake when you're a champion sports player, you have to point the finger so I found it really quite lame between Abbey and Janine talking strength and keeping the right people together.
Nova was eliminated after being totally blindsided by her team. (Image: Network Ten)
TV WEEK: Was there a moment at tribal council where you realised you were in trouble?
Nova: What happened was, at the tribal council, Abbey couldn't help herself. She brought up what had happened to her, making everything about her when she couldn't own her lies and deception. Steve said she was weak, she was weak, she folded to David. David had a plan in place and that was to win Abbey over and she pretty much did that and it was quite obvious on the show.
Her connection to David was purely emotional and physical and I sort of felt in the sporting world she's not in our league of mine, Simon's, Steven's, Susie's and ET's. To be honest I didn't know how Abbey actually fits in our sporting context anyway. She plays club footy and a handful of AFL women's games and then sort of got de-listed and sort of, us who've progressed for decades in our sporting field was something that gelled us together.
WATCH: Nova Peris competes at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Post continues after video...
TV WEEK: You were the unofficial boss of the camp and some people were very upset when you rationed the bananas.
Nova: With the whole banana thing I sort of laugh about it. [Being out bush] is not an unfamiliar thing to me, I've been doing it most of my life coming from the Kimberley and West Arnhem land region.
When you get rations so to speak, like the bananas and the rice, you can't be a glutton and that's the thing. Ross said, 'I don't like being told what to do.' Well Ross, if we'd all had two bananas a day, the bananas aren't going to last long so effectively what Ross was doing was putting himself above everyone else and you can't do that champ. He's an individual surfer, he doesn't come from that team environment.
Nova and Ross clashed when it came to banana rations. (Image: Network Ten)
I've come from both sides where I was an Olympic individual and I was an elite person in a team environment so I have skills of leadership and being able to do and say things and if Ross took offence to that, I don't make apologies for that. I said the things to him that no one else had the guts to and he made a big song and dance about it and went over to the others.
Sometimes I used to go and get the pawpaw off trees, I introduced the entire camp to breadfruit, none of them had any idea about the different fruits that grow in the tropics. I also introduced them to the bush hibiscus which Aboriginal people know as the fire tree, that's how we pretty much put our shelter together from the bark of the bush hibiscus which is used for rope.
If I wasn't there, no one would've had any idea about it so when people referred to me as the boss lady, I had to be because no one else had a bloody clue about it!
"When people referred to me as the boss lady, I had to be because no one else had a bloody clue about it!" (Image: Network Ten)
TV WEEK: Who would you like to see win?
Nova: ET to me is such a gentleman and then you look at someone like Simon Black who was a captain of Brisbane, a premiership player. His skills are so different to someone like Steven Bradbury who's the ultimate champion but in an individual sport so it's interesting watching Steven's game face which is so serious. But so is Simon's so is ET's, we're all serious but we all have different personalities of how we talk to people.
I guess with ET he has that gentle nature that people gravitate towards, on television he knows how to people to get a message across but Simon's quite quiet as well. I feel that Simon could potentially fly under the radar a bit, he has got a big target on his back because of his bush skills and likeable character. People might think at the tribe swap 'We don't want ET to be part of the tribe swap' and the other group will make ET's life on Survivor quite short.
Just watching this now and some people have made the commentary where you have the Contenders and the sporting champions and then the others and I think it's interesting how that's played out, it'll be interesting to see who's next to fall off the perch. Let's hope a few good people remain.

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