The merge was exactly what this season needed. After what I thought wasn’t the most exciting pre-merge, many have really begun to step up their game, and as a result, it has led to two great episodes this week. With only 9 people left in the game, and even with a Champion alliance led by Mat still very much in control, who knows how this season will play out from here. That said, lets see who, at this point, is the one to beat, and who is only just hanging on.
Last week, I had Robbie dead last on the rankings, which proved to be correct (win for me!), but also had Sam in 4th spot, and mentioned how he would be the least likely of the trio of Mat, Steve and Sam to go… which was clearly incorrect. Let’s hope I do a little better this week.
1. Mat Rogers
Last Week – #2
It’s hard to fault what Mat is doing, even if there seems to be some slight cracks forming in his game. I always hate when the person potentially going home is told beforehand, so I wasn’t fond of Mat confessing to Robbie that he going to be receiving votes, and I’m still unsure of his move to take a loyal soldier like Lydia out the episode before.
That said, the most recent episode was the really the first time that Mat was targeted, and he got through it with flying colours. He did win immunity, which helped, but even without it, I still don’t see Mat going home that night. With Steve and Shane completely loyal to him, and seemingly forming a bond with contenders Fenella and Shonee, Sam & Benji’s plan to blindside ‘The Godfather’ never really got off the ground.
Mat won’t be able to get to the end of this game easily, especially with Benji out to get him and his threat level continuing to rise, but to this point, he has played a fantastic game, and after the last two episodes, and it’s hard to not put him anywhere but in the 1st spot. He showed he is willing to take out anyone who stands in his way, and if he is going to win this game, he’s going to have to continue to do so.
2. Sharn Coombes
Last Week – #1
Sharn falling to 2nd isn’t due to anything terrible she did in the game this week, it’s simply because I feel Mat just had the stronger week, and Sharn, in my opinion, making a slight mistake. Sharn’s best move all game is the fact that she has been able to do what she has needed to do without really being noticed. However, it was briefly mentioned that she was one of the physical threats in the game in Monday’s episode, so it’s possible that Sharn may in fact no longer be flying under the radar, or not as much as she once was.
I really didn’t agree with her decision to take the small bag of vegetables and the immunity challenge advantage. I don’t feel like she needed it, and while her reasoning for taking it was to beat Robbie, and essentially save Benji was solid, I honestly feel it’s placed a bigger target on her back then she really would want. While it hasn’t affected her game yet, it just felt like an unnecessary risk. That said, she’s still in tight with the controlling Champions alliance, and seems to have some sort of bond with Benji, so Sharn still sits in a great spot right now, and still a great chance to win this game.
3. Steve Willis
Last Week – #5
You can’t really fault Steve and his gameplay. He’s doing exactly what he needs to do, to make it far in the game, while not making mistakes, or enemies, along the way. While it doesn’t make for particularly interesting television, Steve’s spot in the game, for the time being, seems quite secure. While he was targeted by Benji & Sam in Tuesday night’s episode briefly, he was only the default target after Mat won immunity. (Speaking of, is it safe to say Steve is throwing these challenges? I expected so much more from him, and if he is losing on purpose, it’s not the worst way to try and keep the target off his back)
For as long as Mat is in this game, and in control, I don’t see a scenario where Steve goes home, but I also don’t see a scenario where he wins if Mat remains in control. While I would like for to take command(o) in a future vote, you get the sense he is more than happy, for the time being, to just sit in Mat’s shadow. Not a bad week for Steve, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
4. Shane Gould
Last week – #3
For as great as Shane was with her part in the Lydia vote out, it was quite surprising that she was barely seen in these last two episodes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it hard to place her on these rankings. We know she voted with the majority both nights, and we know she is still tight with Mat and Steve… but that is about it. Again, like I mentioned last week, there’s nothing wrong with Shane staying in the shadow for the time being. She had her moment, she orchestrated, along with Mat, the blindside of Lydia, so it would probably be best for her game to stay unmentioned. With all the huge threats being targeted, I’m very confident Shane can make it through the next few votes.
5. Shonee Fairfax & 6. Fenella McGowan
Last week – #7 (Shonee) & #8 (Fenella)
Look, these two are basically inseparable at this point, they’re a package deal, and thus, I’m going to rank them together. I see so much potential in both Shonee and Fenella. While still not in control, Shonee and Fenella seems to have gotten themselves into a far more decent position then they were in at the start of the merge. While not completely safe, they seem to no longer be talked about as targets. With Fenella being taken on the reward with Mat being a good step, the two need to continue to do everything possible to make connections, and get further in this game. You just get the sense that there will come a time where a big blindside will occur, and someone like Mat, Sharn or Steve will be taken out, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Shonee & Fenella are the ones orchestrating the plan.
Unfortunately, it is tough to rank both of them at this week, because we didn’t get a whole lot from the two in the last 2 episodes. We know they was at least debating on the Tuesday episode as to whether to side with the plan to blindside Mat, but when that all fell apart, and they voted with the majority to take out Sam. Their names haven’t come up since the first vote of the merge, when Fenella had her name written down, so that bodes well for the pair. The advantage in her pocket is the only thing that keeps Shonee above Fenella at this point.
7. Monika Radulovic
Last week – #6
Another week… and we still are getting absolutely nothing from Monika. That’s still not necessarily bad… but we’ve gotten to the point where there is only 9 people left, and she’s still not getting any airtime. I’m starting to feel bad to be honest. We know Monika is seemingly in with the Champion alliance, but she did have the conversation with Benji, hopefully pointing towards the fact that she is willing to switch and turn this game on its head. While I don’t think she is at risk anytime soon, unlike Shonee and Fenella, I feel, from what we’ve been shown, that there is a far more potential for the pair, and that’s why Monika falls below them. Unfortunately, there’s nothing else to add, because we just didn’t get anything from her… and it’s such a shame.
8. Brian Lake
Last week – #9
Does anyone know where Brian is sitting in this game? I thought he was at the bottom of the Champion alliance, yet, he seems content to stay that way for the time being. Like Monika, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, he might just be playing the long game, waiting to strike. If that happens, he will absolutely shoot up the rankings. But, at this point, I can’t put him any higher. The only thing we actually saw from him in the last two episodes was him scrubbing his balls… and that doesn’t fill me with the most confidence that this is the man who is going to overthrow Mat and his power alliance.
9. Benji Wilson
Last week – #10
It pains me to but Benji last, but it wasn’t a great week for him. Losing Robbie wasn’t great (even though, at that point, it was smart for Benji to turn on him), his plan to take out the Godfather (and then Steve, when Mat won immunity) completely fell apart, and if you are going off the ads for the next episode, he has now put himself up against Mat, and that seemingly is only going to end in two ways. Either Benji will go home, or he will might just somehow take control of this game. I just don’t like his odds unfortunately.
He does have an idol though, and hopefully, unlike his sister last season (… sorry Anneliese), he can use it to set himself up for the last portion of this game. Benji just needs to make some connections, get himself in an alliance, and turn down the arrogance just a little bit. Benji’s back is very much up against the wall, and I won’t lie, being the fan of his that I am, I’m hoping he can survive the next few episodes… but from what we saw this week, I just couldn’t put him anywhere else but at the bottom of this week’s rankings.