I’ve been very up and down on this season, and it’s the reason why I’ve haven’t covered any element of this season so far. After last season, which was continuously entertaining, I feel there really hasn’t been a great number of standout episodes. On the flip side though, there’s not been a moment where I’ve been ready to give up on the season. The cast, as a whole, has been fun to watch, if not just a little frustrating. However, hopefully, now that we’ve hit the merge, we will really begin to see the remain 11 up their games in a fight to win the half a million dollars, and after seeing the previous episode, I’ve got the sense that the gameplay will really begin to pick up. With that in mind, I’ll attempt to rank the remaining 11 castaways, considering who is truly in the best position moving forward, and who will really have to pick up their game if they have any hope of getting towards that final 2. Before I begin, I’d like to note that I do think this game is still very much wide open, and that I’m not willing to write off anyone…. just yet.
1. Sharn Coombes
I truly believe Sharn is playing one hell of a game at the moment. She’s hasn’t made any mistakes to this point, and comfortably survived being swapped into a minority to make it to the merge. She, along with Lydia, managed to get Benji and Robbie to keep them over the old contenders, and I feel she absolutely deserves credit for that.
I feel the greatest aspect of Sharn’s game so far is that she has managed to stay completely under the radar, and it’s the reason I put her in 1st position. She’s incredibly smart, and if they let her get to the end, especially seeing as she is a criminal barrister, she has the chance to deliver one hell of a final tribal speech. Sharn also proved she can do well in the individual immunity challenges, even without being seen as a physical threat. While taking out Lydia removes the one person we’ve seen to be her closest ally, it proves she is willing to do what it takes to get to the end, and she must have known going against what the majority would have potentially destroyed her game. Surely, she’s not going any time soon, especially with all the potential people she could throw under the bus if they begin to target her. She would have a great shot if she gets the end part of the game.
2. Mat Rogers
The only thing keeping Mat from sitting number 1 on this power ranking is simply the fact that sooner or later, he may begin to be seen as too big of a threat to keep around, and that’s a shame, because I think he is playing a fantastic game at the moment.
Socially, Mat is exactly where he needs to be to make it incredibly far in this game. He seems very well liked, doesn’t seem to be pissing anyone off, and has basically been in control of his tribe since the start. Mat just seems to understand the social dynamics in every situation he is in, and it’s very impressive. Getting Shane to play a double agent was especially brilliant. With the challenges now individual, I can also see him doing quite well at them.
Surely, at one point, someone close to him will see him as a threat and try to get rid of him. But with how well he is set up, and an idol (does he still have that idol? It’s his, right?) in his pocket, Mat could very easily take anyone out that he needs to. It’s tough to see him leaving any time soon.
3. Shane Gould
If I had written these power ranking a week ago, I would not have had Shane so high on the list. I’m still unsure if putting her this high is warranted… but she impressed me so much in the last episode, that it feels appropriate to put her in the top 3. She just seems to be playing without any fear, and while that may catch up to her, it also gives her the chance to go very far in this game. To pull off what she did, during a challenge, to put that plan together to take out Lydia, shows Shane is very much playing this game. Not only that, but she is playing to win.
My issue with Shane’s game is that it was only a few weeks ago that she was firmly on the bottom of her tribe, and played an idol because she believed that as well. I also don’t know who is really on her side. However, with the tribe now merged, from this point, she can very easily fly under the radar. She’s one to watch, and she has a compelling story to tell if she was to make it to the final Tribal Council.
4. Samuel Hinton
Sam has been a real highlight of the season to this point, he has had some truly funny moments, but probably more importantly, he is by far the least threatening of the power trio of Mat, Sam and Steve. If they become the target, you’d have to think he is by far the least likely of the 3 to go.
Strategically, we haven’t heard a lot from Sam, besides really the fact that he wanted to keep Lydia around in the last episode. Fortunately, he had the smarts to agree to the plan to take her out, and not find himself on the outs of the alliance. The good news for Sam is that he has the potential to very far in the game, and if he was to make a move or two before getting to the end game, he would have a great case to argue for himself. He’s flying under the radar, but he has the potential to become a real player in the game.
5. Steve Willis
Steve is playing a seriously quiet game. He seems content, at the moment, to just playing the second-in-command(o) to Mat, and so far, it’s working for him. He seems very well set up now that they have merged, with the Champion alliance having control. There’s just not a lot to say about him, because he has barely said anything all game… seriously, I sometimes forget he’s out there.
The Commando falls slightly down the rankings after the Lydia vote out, and that’s just because they may have set a precedent to take out the physical threats… and he is definitely one of them. Mat may also choose to get let him go, if it means going further in the game, and I don’t see Steve having that killer instinct to prevent it from happening.
6. Monika Radulovic
I’m waiting, hoping, Monika has a breakout episode, where she reveals she is in fact a strategic mastermind, and not just out there because she looks great, or is simply making up the numbers. Unfortunately, I don’t really see that happening at this point. That said, she seems very well liked, so at least her social game is working well, seeing as she hasn’t really been close to going home yet. She also survived the swap, where she was initially on the outs. Monika seems set up to float her way quite far in the game, and that’s the reason she falls in 6th spot. Let’s be fair, no one is viewing Monika as a threat in this game, especially not at this point.
Here’s hoping that Monika starts to truly start playing the game soon, but she’s just been so invisible for most of the season, I feel the middle spot of the rankings is fair for her.
7. Shonee Fairfax
If this was a ranking of my favourite players left in the game, Shonee would be easily in the top 2. Her sass throughout the game, but especially after being swapped, continues to entertain. Unfortunately, just with how the numbers have fell, I have to rank her quite far down. She’s on the outs (although voted with the majority to take out Lydia), she was probably lucky to survive the swap, and the Champions are clearly controlling this game. She does have an advantage though, and with a little bit of luck, has the potential to change up the game.
I don’t see this massive champion alliance to continue to dominate, and along with Fenella, Shonee could very easily make some massive moves to get her ahead, and I would very much enjoy seeing it. Getting Benji (and his idol) and Robbie back on their side would help, and convincing the lower ranked champions (Monika, Brian) to turn on Mat could be the first step in Shonee taking control of this game. She’s not out yet, and even though she is ranked low, it’s not a reflection of the potential she has moving forward.
8. Fenella McGowan
Her name being brought up as a potential vote was not great to see, and it just seems Fenella has been on the bottom of the tribe for weeks now. Fortunately, she made the merge, and has teamed back up with Shonee. That said, she is also clearly on the outs.
Just like with Shonee, I have loved Fenella all season, she’s been incredibly entertaining, so I’m hoping there is a change coming in the next few episodes. She did well enough to survive the swapped tribes, but she did lose an ally in Heath. Fenella just needs to hope that a bigger threat is seen in the game, and she can take down the champions alliance, led by Mat. There’s still hope, her game is far from over, but I can’t rank her any higher than this for the time being, especially due to the fact that she did receive 3 votes at the latest Tribal.
9. Brian Lake
Brian is higher than the other 2 people left simply because he is current in with the majority. I haven’t been all that impressed by his game and I don’t find him all that interesting to watch. I don’t see a route where he gets himself to the end and actually wins the game, but, he’s not out of the game yet, so there’s a chance it could all change.
It feels like Brian has been on the bottom of the tribe, with no alliance, since basically the start of the game. To his credit, he did side with Mat and the other champions, so there’s a chance that could build up some trust with them. It seems like a long shot for Brian to win, but we’ve seen crazier things happen.
10. Benji Wilson
I know there are a lot of people out there that don’t like Benji. I’m not one of them. Once he finally decided to start speaking after about 7 episodes, I have only found him to be incredibly entertaining, and a great addition to this season (I also really liked his sister last season, so it must be a family thing). Also, why Tegan didn’t immediately target him when she got back is still a baffling to me… anyway. That said, he really is not in the best position right now. It’s not looking great at the moment.
Siding with the champions, and taking out both Tegan and Heath (thank god we don’t have to hear him mention “dethroning the king/queen” anymore) could have been a good move, and I wasn’t completely against it if it meant he was in with the rest of the champions… but we saw how that one turned out. He is now only one of 2 people left in the game that didn’t vote out Lydia, and if the champions are determined to take out the rest of the contenders, it could mean trouble for him. That said, he has an idol, he clearly has a strategic mind for the game, and if he could just hold the arrogance back a bit, and start working with the other contenders left in the game, he may have a chance to regain control. At the very least, he has his loyal puppy dog by his side, who is by far a bigger physical threat than he is, so that might keep him safe for at least the next vote, if he can’t regain the numbers. I want Benji to do well, so I’m hoping he doesn’t go any time soon.
11. Robbie Skibicki
Robbie seems to be a really nice guy, there’s no denying that. But… boy is he in some trouble unless things take a dramatic shift. He, along with Benji, had no idea that Lydia (who he really liked… a lot), was going to be blindsided. They also both voted for a contender, and they might need to stop doing that if they are going to survive much longer.
If the Mat’s champion alliance continues to be strong, and move through the game, then you’d have to think Robbie would be the next to go. He’s a physical threat, just like Lydia, and they had no problem taking her out, so they’ll definitely have problem taking him out. At least his only alliance partner, Benji has an idol, but I can’t see a scenario where Benji uses it to save him. Robbie needs to start playing hard if he is going to survive, or, win a few immunities to keep himself around. It’s not looking great for Robbie at this point in the game… but he still has a chance… it’s just diminishing every episode. It seems to be now or never for Robbie.