AFL Legend Simon Black: 'Survivor' Strips You Bare Emotionally'

Going into the new season of 'Australian Survivor: Champions Vs Contenders', Brownlow medalist and former Brisbane Lion, Simon Black, was nervous.

"I was really nervous!" Simon exclaimed, chatting with 10 Daily over the phone. "It was like playing footy again! And I hadn’t competed in any way in five or six years -- I used to get really nervous before games of footy as well -- and I was really nervous to compete again."

Initially apprehensive about "having cameras in your face 24/7", as well, Simon said that the experience he had far exceeded his expectations.

"I knew it was gonna be awesome but it was far better than I even expected it to be, and also, it’s tougher than it looks!" he shared.

Simon elaborated, noting that even though "it looks tough on TV", living it brings it to a whole different level.

"I’ve seen people get a letter from home on telly, and been like ‘it’s 37 days, it’s not that long a time, they’re really emotional!’ but when you’re out there, it’s amazing how it strips you back and strips you bare emotionally," he explained.

A longtime fan of the show and the game, Simon was drawn to 'Australian Survivor' when the opportunity arose because he found 'the physical and mental aspect of it appealing".

Of course, as a fan of the show, he knew that there was also the social element of the game, which he described as "the biggest challenge".

"I guess some of the backstabbing and the lying, was always gonna be a challenge, and it hit me in the face," he said, sharing: "Someone said that I’d said something -- that they’d made up -- and I got really angry and then I was like ‘it’s a game, and this is part of the game’ so you know, just deal with it!" he laughed.

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Citing Mat Rogers' "pretty aggressive" game play last year as one of the people he wanted to emulate, Simon said that he also wanted to play a good social game, not just for strategy, but for his experience as a whole.

"I wanted to have some sort of shields throughout my time in there," he conceded, "but I also wanted to get to know everyone and be genuine and forms relationships and have a genuine care for people in my tribe."

He continued: "It’s probably a contradiction, a little bit, because you’ve gotta vote people out, but I think with my core alliance I wanted to do what I said and say what I was gonna do and also just get to know everyone in the tribe."

Asked what skills from his career in AFL were helpful to him in the game of Survivor, Simon was quick to cite the loyalty and brotherhood that comes from a background in team sports.

"It’s an individual game but it’s also elements of a team working together, and I tried to help them when they needed help," he explained. "I think my sporting background certainly helped with some of the physical challenges, but also mentally, you have a brotherhood playing team sports, you have to have genuine care for the people around you and I think that helps in ‘Survivor’ but I think it might make you a little bit naive at times, as well!"

With physical challenges, all kinds of puzzles, hidden immunity idols and tribe dynamics at play, there are any number of things that could be the most surprising part of the game. For Simon, though? It was the tide.

"Well, the first night, I slept on the beach and I was surprised how high the tide came up, because there was a big wave and I got all wet!" he explained, laughing.

"They took bamboo to sleep on and I’ve got a bad back so I was like ‘I’m not sleeping on bamboo, I’ll go down the beach!’ and the tide came up the beach."

Lesson learned!

'Australian Survivor: Champions Vs Contenders' returns on July 24, only on 10 and WIN Networks.

Feature image: 10