Australian Survivor 2019: Shaun Hampson: "I Know I'm Not An AFL Champion"

We had to know if we'd ever see Shaun Hampson's partner Megan Gale on 'Australian Survivor'.

Shaun laughed.

"I have spoken to her about it," he revealed, adding Megan doesn't think she could handle it.

"I told her, you just you find a way when you're out there, you know what I mean?" Shaun recounted to 10 daily over the phone.

"I think there's people that were far less prepared or physically fit than her that did okay, I think she'd be fine."

Shaun Hampson will join Australian Survivor.

Shaun played almost 100 games in the top flight of the AFL over a 12-year career with Carlton and Richmond, and is now joining a new team -- the Contenders tribe on Australian Survivor. He told us he was "so excited" to compete on the show, quickly revealing himself as a bit of a superfan.

"I've been a fan of the show since I was 12," he shared, adding he got Megan "hooked on it as well".

Shaun's been a Survivor fan since Season 1 of the US series back in 2000, and had always thought of it as "a bit of a dream" to be on the show.

"As soon as the opportunity presented itself, it's all I could think about!" he said -- but apparently nobody was more excited for him than his mum.

"Mum's as big a fan as I am," he said, adding he "grew up watching it with her".

"It was sort of our thing, I guess. It's hard for a teenage boy to have anything in common with their mum, but it was like our one thing -- every week we'd watch 'Survivor', so she was rapt when she found out. I think she was trying to live vicariously through me for the show!"

We had to know, with so much knowledge from watching for all these years, was he going to be emulating some of the biggest players in the game's history? Would we be seeing him pull from the Boston Rob playbook? Would he be an Ozzy?

"I think the game has changed a lot over the years," he said.

"If somebody goes in with Boston's Rob strategy, it wouldn't fly now, because people will be on to it. You'd be voted out pretty quick."

Instead, Shaun hoped to "hang in the middle" without standing out.

"You can't be too good at challenges. You can't be not good enough for challenges. You can't be doing too much or anything you can't be doing too little around camp, you can't be too much of an asshole," he said of his strategy.

"You can't be too nice. It's actually a really, really hard thing to do."

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Being a former professional footballer with some of the country's biggest clubs, the obvious question was: why was he on the Contenders tribe?

"I think it was the lack of success that put me on the contenders tribe," he responded.

"When you look at somebody like Simon Black on the show, he played 300 games. He won three premierships, a Brownlow medal, he's highly decorated and he's got every reason -- almost more than anybody -- to be called a champion of the game."

"I had 12 awesome years, but I played 98 games. I spent a lot of my time in rehab, injured. I didn't win any premierships, I just missed out on the 2017 one with Richmond, which I was in emergency for."

I'm not a champion, although I had a really great time and I'm very grateful for having 12 years in the AFL.

So, perhaps he didn't have "the dream run like Blacky had", but Shaun assured us he still picked up a lot of skills that came in handy in Survivor.

Likening his early days on the Contenders tribe to being placed on a footy team, Shaun said his AFL experience taught him how to "work together towards one common goal", even amongst relative strangers.

Aside from knowing how to deal with different personalities, Shaun said he also found he was pretty capable when faced with "those high pressure situations in the challenges" and was able to help calm some of his tribe mates down.

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Still, having a cool head in challenges didn't mean that he didn't have any pre-show jitters.

"If you're not nervous going in I think there's something wrong with you," Shaun laughed.

"Nobody would've done anything close to that. Even if some people have done a lot of camping in the wilderness with small rations and stuff, they haven't had to deal with the social and the strategic game side of things."

Calling it "the hardest thing [he's] ever done in [his] life", Shaun added the game "hits you from every angle".

"You're starving. You're sleep-deprived, you've got people trying to backstab you and you've got physical contests to worry about," he explained.

Apparently, the hanger is real -- Shaun said aside from missing his family, the hunger was the hardest part of the game. Despite having deliberately fasted at times and controlling his diet through his footy career, Shaun said the hunger was a lot harder to deal with than he'd anticipated.

"Mentally, it was very hard thing for me because you finish a handful of rice, and you're so hungry, but you've got no option, you can't go, 'oh, stuff it, I'm just going to go to the pantry and eat, I know I was fasting but I'll just give it a break because I'm starving'," he laughed.  

Telling us that he spent a lot of time "daydreaming about food", he added "hanger's a real thing!"

Instead of taking it out on his fellow contestants, Shaun said that he"found outlets for his hanger pains, laughing:

You find ways to use your rage proactively

"You know that if you do get hungry and cranky, and you start losing it at people, you're gonna go home," he explained.

"So you find other ways to get it out, like you take to the machete and you start chopping some fire wood with more aggression than you usually would."

Australian Survivor: Champions V Contenders' premieres Wednesday, 24 July at 7.30pm, only on 10 and WIN Network.

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