Aussie Survivor winner revealed

The final immunity challenge on Australian Survivor.
The final immunity challenge on Australian Survivor. Channel 10

AND the winner of Australian Survivor 2017 is - super fan, Jericho!

Fan favourite Jericho Malabonga took out the title of Australian Sole Survivor for 2017, beating Sunshine Coast mum-of-three and barrel racer, Tara Pitt, five votes to three, at the final Jury.

After 55 days in the Samoan jungle, the 25 year-old flight attendant from Victoria, a fan of the reality TV series since childhood, "outwitted, outplayed and outlasted" Pitt at the final hurdle, to take home the $500,000 prize.

"I'm proud of my experience. I am proud of my game," he said at the final Jury. "I hope I have made Australia proud, my family proud, fans proud, and Survivor."

It was a closely fought battle, beginning with an epic immunity endurance challenge between Pitt, 32, Malabonga, and Peter Conte, 22, from New South Wales.

Like last year, the contestants were tasked with holding onto a pole, on the water's edge. But the stakes this time around were even higher, with the remaining three forced to compete in complete darkness, in the freezing cold, and with no chance of seeing the waves coming.

Peter said for him it was a "do or die" challenge.

The final three contestants on Australian Survivor.
The final three contestants on Australian Survivor. Channel 10

Host Jonathan LaPaglia told them: "It's not a very comfortable position, there's not much to balance on. Soon that discomfort will turn to pain, then it's about pain management. So much of this challenge is psychological."

"You gotta dig deep if you want it."

It was Tara who folded first, buckling from the pain after almost three agonising hours.

She started crying, saying: "I'm trying to pull it all together ... I'm just trying my hardest."

The final Tribal Council with Tara, Jericho and Peter.
The final Tribal Council with Tara, Jericho and Peter. Channel 10

Jericho then tried to get her to focus and talk about horses as a distraction. But it failed.

Two hours later, enduring a remarkable five hours and fifteen minutes, Jericho outlasted Peter to win final immunity - he was now in control of the game.

Peter was in tears as he admitted defeat, saying: "I need a hand in getting down."

Then it was time for Jericho to decide who to take with him to face the Jury at the final Tribal Council.

"It's not about who's an easy win it's more about who deserves to sit next to me and be in the final two," he said.

Tara argued her case, saying: "If he took Peter the Jury would see that as taking the easy ride out."

But Peter disagreed, saying: "I believe I have played a good game. The Jury wants to see that. Not taking me will undermine Jericho's game."

The final Tribal Council with Tara, Jericho and Peter.
The final Tribal Council with Tara, Jericho and Peter. Channel 10

After agonising, he ultimately decided to take Tara, after she persuaded him she was the one who took the most risks and played the most strategically during the competition.

Tara and Jericho then spent their last night back at camp, and woke up to two massive hampers filled with food which they feasted on before they faced the Jury. They went for their final swim together.

Both finalists were grilled by the Jury about why they deserved to win the $500,000 prize on offer, and they pulled no punches.

Jericho admitted he had "one goal in mind".

"If I could convince and make anyone believe I was the saint, kind-hearted Jericho that would not hurt anybody then I was already winning. Everyone thought I was this really loveable guy. I was willing to blindside every single one of you."

He admitted he told different stories to three people to make them "feel special". He called them his "three shields he could use".

"They were gamechanging moves and that's why I'm sitting here and I came out on top," he said.

When asked if he was riding on the coat-tails of Luke, he said he looked at the alliance he had with him as "like Santa Claus".

"You ride the sleigh, but I'm the one with the whip," he said.

"I had the whip and he was the reindeer."

He also admitted that he had "blood" on his hands and he was "fine with that".

Jericho facing the Jury on Australian Survivor.
Jericho facing the Jury on Australian Survivor. Channel 10

Tara revealed her biggest move was when she strategically got Locky out of the game after using him as a "shield."

She told of how she "spread her wings" so she had a "Plan A, Plan B and even a Plan C".

Once she got Locky out, she knew it was time for her to "use her own armour".

The Jury voted, but LaPaglia told them the winner would not be revealed until they got back to Australia.

"I'm nervous - I don't speak when I'm nervous," Tara said as she waited for the final results to be read out at Jury.

Sitting next to her, dressed in a white shirt and bow tie, Jericho was equally tense, but, ultimately gracious in victory.

"This experience will always be part of me. It's taught me a lot and I'm grateful for that," he said. "I am still shocked I am still standing here. I am surprised at my own capabilities."

"Scheming and laughing" all the way to Day 55, Malabonga played a strategic game from the start, the "good dude" making sure to keep players on side, before launching his final move of voting Tessa off the Jury in Sunday's episode.

"People think I'm just this naive, young, innocent little kid," he said during the competition. "But I came into this game leaving my morals at the door.

"Whether it's lie, cheat and steal, I was willing to do whatever it takes to win that Sole Survivor title."

Jericho Malabonga, the winner of Australian Survivor 2017.
Jericho Malabonga, the winner of Australian Survivor 2017. Nigel Wright

Nailing challenge after challenge, he had what it took to go all the way - without alienating people along the way.

"This experience will always be part of me. It's taught me a lot and I'm grateful for that," he said.

"Being there every day, I just savoured moment after moment. If it was my last day, I made sure it was going to be the most amazing day ... I was just stoked I was there."

He quotes his friendship with Luke as being a highlight.

"Even though he's in Perth, I will be visiting," he said.

Topics:  australian survivor channel 10 jericho jonathan lapaglia

News Corp Australia

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