Survivor

Australian Survivor Exclusive: Fenella hits back at critics of her game-play

'It was a life-changing opportunity and I wasn't there to be targeted early'

By Tina Burke

Fenella became the 19th person eliminated from Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders overnight, despite being part of the majority alliance in the top six.

Her elimination came down to a voting blunder from a member of her alliance (Brian) and a brilliantly crafted hidden immunity idol play from Sharn.

Over the course of the season, Fenella and her main gal Shonee have been the subject of criticism for their perceived lack of game-play.

From the very first tribal council when fellow Contender Matt gave a lengthy speech about how 'the girls' weren't doing enough, to the Champions suggesting they were 'coasting' through, Fenella and Shonee's tactics have been unfairly criticised.

After all, Fenella has proven herself highly useful in physical challenges, has played a big social game, and has almost always found herself voting with the majority in tribal council.

So what does she have to say of the criticism from fans and fellow players?

"Oh look, I think it's each to their own, and people are going to play the game that they wanna play," Fenella tells TV WEEK.

"For myself, it was a life-changing opportunity and I wasn't there to pull big moves and be targeted early on. I was there to keep as safe as possible and go through to the end.

"I was pulling moves, but they were much quieter. In this game, as a Contender, all these people who were pulling big moves were sent home because they were easy targets. You had to align yourself with the right people and you had to kind of smile and nod, and then Shonee and I would quietly talk about who should go next. We had to be the kind of people who would plant an idea then have someone else execute it because that's just the way the cookie crumbles for us."

Fenella and her best pal Shonee were accused of 'coasting' by some of the Champions.
Fenella and her best pal Shonee were accused of 'coasting' by some of the Champions.

Though Fenella admits she was surprised by this year's theme of Champions vs Contenders - which she has playfully labelled Plebs vs Celebs - she says she wasn't 'scared' to face-off against the other tribe.

"I'm a bit surprised that the Champions' mentality was just 'Champions to the end.' It's a different game than what I've ever watched before and they weren't really open to suggestions," she says.

"But I wasn't really scared going in to it, I mean I can poach an egg like a boss so if you just have to be a Champion of your own field I guess that can be mine."

Fenella says goodbye to her tribe.
Fenella says goodbye to her tribe.

Along with 'playing the game' differently, Fenella says her alliance had a much more realistic approach to elimination than some of the Champions.

"It's always difficult after tribal. As a contender, Shonee and I handled it a lot differently. The Champions took it quite personally; they found it like it was a dagger to the heart," she says.

"They were quite moody and broody around camp. But, as a Contender, firstly we went to way more tribal councils and, secondly, it's kind of the point of the game! You've got to vote someone out! It's not always going to be happy times and it's not always going to go your way."

Despite the different ways they approached the game, Fenella maintains she was excited to play alongside the Champions and is proud to have made it to the top six.

"Look I had a great time and I really surprised myself. There's only one winner and out of 24 people to come sixth is no mean feat," she says, adding, "And to be the second last Contender is something I'm really proud of."

Monika, Fenella and Shonee have played their game on the down-low.
Monika, Fenella and Shonee have played their game on the down-low.

Australian Survivor airs Monday and Tuesday, 7:30pm, on Network Ten.

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