'My Biggest Mistake Was Trusting Luke Toki': Abbey Holmes Talked Us Through Her Season 4 Blindside
As she heads into 'All Stars' we decided to ask AFLW player Abbey Holmes to give us a post-game analysis of her first 'Australian Survivor' experience.
It's a chat that's been long overdue, seeing as we couldn't get Abs on the phone when she was eliminated last year, because she'd already secretly jetted back to Fiji for Season 5.
If you cast your mind back to 2019's 'Champions vs Contenders' season you'll remember that Abbey was sitting pretty in her alliance with Harry Hills and Baden Gilbert until Luke's secret advantage blew Tribal Council wide open.
After sending Baden back to camp (safe but unable to vote) and a few strategic whispers, Luke had saved Pia Miranda and blindsided the hell out of Abbey, who became the 20th person voted out that season.
"That was possibly one of the best moves that I’ve ever seen in Survivor for one," Abbey told 10 daily over the phone ahead of the 'All Stars' premiere.
"I had no idea that it was coming, I went into that Tribal Council knowing that I had the numbers with Harry, Baden and what I thought was Luke -- and Pia was going to be going home," she said.
The King of the Jungle, one of the all-time master strategists of the game completely flipped the vote, after making Abs think that Harry was the new majority's new target.
"Luke came and whispered in my ear he said, ‘Abbey, I’m so sorry to drop this on you now but we’re blindsiding Harry.'"
Abbey's torch had barely been snuffed when she made her way to Jury Villa for a chat with one of the show's producers, who dropped the 'All Stars' bomb on her.
"She just said, 'Ab look I know you’ve just been through 46 days of hell but I’ve got something to run past you... we’re actually doing an 'All Stars' and we really want you to come back.
It was an invitation that Abbey had to process, knowing that filming would be a scheduling conflict with footy finals season, interfering with her broadcasting work for the AFL.
"So I really had to make the call and decide whether I was going to go and play one of the best games in the world or if I was going to stay and make the most of footy finals time in Melbourne," she said.
But the addictive nature of 'Australian Survivor' won out over her first love and she was back in Fiji just six weeks after that blistering blindside, barely having time to settle into her old routine at home.
Reflecting on how she could improve on her gameplay for 'All Stars' -- an arena filled with the best players in the show's history -- Abbey noted that she "played with too much emotion" but joked that there was just one thing that really messed up her strategy.
"My biggest mistake in Season 4 was trusting Luke Toki," she laughed.
This time -- with Luke safely back in Australia -- Abbey's aiming to play her cards a little closer to her chest.
"I’m going to be a bit more poker-faced and just keep things to myself and really be quite measured with how I have conversations with people and when," she promised.