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'Those Were Genuine Tears': Who Jericho Was Really Thinking About Before His Elimination

Jericho Malabonga has become the second ‘Australian Survivor’ winner to have his torch extinguished on ‘All Stars’.

After Shane Gould was eliminated by her Mokuta tribe the previous evening, Vakama followed suit in ousting Jeri, making it clear that no-one wants a winner to take out Season 5. 

The Cookie Monster’s downfall came about in the cruelest possible way, at the hands of an alliance that bonded over a secret stash of choc-chip biscuits -- the very same sweet treat that elevated Jeri’s game in Season 2. 

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“I reckon that the Cookie legacy continued in the most poetic way,” Jericho philosophically told 10 daily after his elimination. 

“The first time I played, I was hiding this jar of cookies from the whole tribe and this time around, the majority of the tribe were hiding it from the Cookie Monster himself,” he added. 

The disrespect of forming a Cookie Alliance without the Cookie Monster. Image: Network 10.

After Phoebe and Locky paid a visit to the ‘Survivor’ store, they secretly stashed the sugary treats and shared them with Dave, Flick, Brooke, Locky and Daisy -- leaving Jeri, Tarzan, Mat, Moana and Jacqui in the dark. 

"The Cookie Monster's going down after not even one cookie," Dave proudly said ahead of the vote. "I think there's some irony in that".

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While Jeri wasn't aware there were cookies involved, he was keenly aware of the stark 5-7 divide in Vakama.

“Literally there was a group of seven that naturally came together like a clique and through that, I was left with the leftovers -- the older people who didn’t fit in with that social group.”

The older, better looking alliance left behind by the new generation of Cookie Monsters. Image: Network 10.

But instead of being a 'Survivor' goat, Jeri decided to swim against the tide and take the more challenging route. 

“I wanted to have fun with it and, it was going to be the end of me, I at least wanted to come out swinging.”

After Vakama’s epic immunity challenge loss, Jericho’s final option was an emotional appeal at Tribal Council, one that he told 10 daily wasn’t exactly a premeditated ploy. 

“Those were genuine tears,” he said of his heartfelt speech.

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“Then I snapped during my emotional moment and I thought to myself, ‘I’m still at Tribal Council, let’s use these tears to tug at people’s hearts because if I can persuade one or two more people to come on my team, then we’ve got it in the bag’. 

“As much as they come across as crocodile tears, they were legit real but I was just thinking during the moment, ‘Jericho, you’re still in the game; use this as leverage.”

Not crocodile tears, according to Jeri. Image: Network 10.

But before strategics came to mind, Jeri said he was honestly worried about one particular person in his alliance. 

I was really thinking about Moana like, ‘poor girl, she’s going home!’ 

“But then I also thought in terms of relationships -- I know I was only there for five days but -- you really do get to know people. People can pour out their hearts to you in 24 hours.”

Things might have been different for Jericho if he had been placed on the Mokuta tribe with the Season 2 winner listing one person in particular he would have liked to have worked with. 

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“Oh man, to be honest, when I saw Shonee I thought, ‘oh, please, that’d be so cool because we could just mock everyone’. 

“That’s the kind of thing I liked doing when I first played with Luke, I just had good vibes with him and made fun of the whole experience,” he said, adding that “it was so ludicrous to even apply for a show where you just get eaten by bugs and sleep in the rain with people who are backstabbing you.”

A first time for everything! Image: Network 10.

Jericho explained that, as a player who likes to have fun, he respected Shonee who clearly “just takes the piss out of everyone”. 

“It was pretty gutting that she was on the other side.”

While Jeri didn’t make it far in the game, he said he’s currently feeling immense gratitude for being able to play again and isn’t one bit concerned that his ‘Survivor’ legacy has been tarnished. 

“There is one thing that I’m grateful for -- and that’s that I can fall back on the first season that I played." 

“I know that most people are really banking on a win this time to make sure that they re-write their own story that was cut short for them -- for myself, however, I was coming in with a different perspective.”

'Australian Survivor: All Stars' airs Monday-Wednesday at 7.30 pm. Only on 10 and WIN Network.