George has been making waves since the very first episode of the season, where he found an advantage that allowed him to save himself from elimination, and a number of others in the Brains tribe.
He chose to save a number of the older and physically weaker members of the tribe but blundered when he told them that was why he chose to save them, which came across as a little insulting.
However, despite numerous attempts by many castaways to get rid of him, George has remained strong until the very end, earning himself the nickname ‘The Cockroach of Bankstown’, considering he cannot be killed.
In his real life, George is a political staffer for the Labor Party, and is based in western Sydney.
He came into the show open about his political career, believing it would give him a natural advantage when it came to the social strategy required to go far in Survivor.
George admitted on the show that he’d been involved with Labor since he was 15.
Although he's been a divisive player in Survivor, George has had moments that have endeared him to the audience – often driven by his incredible social strategy and his ability to control the outcome of most tribal councils.
He achieved this mostly through his very close alliance with Cara Atchison, who was voted off last night, coming in fourth place.
“My dearest @duchessofdoublebay Cara! We were and still are the strongest alliance in Australian Survivor history. As an alliance we were on the bottom and on our own from Day 1 (with Baden),” he wrote on Instagram after her elimination.
“From the tribe swap we controlled the outcome of every single vote - the combination of your carrot and my stick got us through every single time. WE WERE UNSTOPPABLE AND IT WAS JUST AN ALLIANCE OF TWO!” George shared.
However, the final tribal did see George and Cara turn on each other – popping each other’s name in the urn in the hope of getting to the final three, and then two.
“But the maximum point for our amazing story was the Top 4. There is only 1 Crown up for grabs, and I can’t win it if you’re still there!” George wrote by way of explanation.
But will the King/Cockroach of Bankstown be able to pull off the final win?
Pain researcher Hayley has the best resume to date, having won three immunity challenges, and fought her way back into the game from Redemption Rock.
She also had a major role in some of the season’s biggest blindsides against Joey and Simon.
Hayley is also a massive Survivor fan, and studied hard before she joined the game.
“I re-watched a lot of old seasons, and I made these spreadsheets, and on them I put down why people were voted off at different times and what their mistakes were, so I could try to learn from their mistakes,” she told WHO.
Her intense study definitely seems to be paying off though – she’s sitting in the top spot on SportsBet, and Survivor fans absolutely love her for her strong social and strategic game.
“To have my idols, the people who have played Survivor before contact me and say positive things about my game – it’s unbelievable to think that they know who I am,” Hayley said previously.
“That’s probably the most exciting part of the airing process for me.”
Hayley’s social game came off particularly well in the semi-final, when she was able to split the four-way vote 1-1-2.
With the knowledge that Flick was hoping to vote her out, Hayley appealed to George and Cara to turn on each other, based on the notion that if Flick won immunity in the final episode, she was guaranteed to win the show given her strong physical prowess and her friendships on the jury.
“I was very confident George would see the logic of keeping me. But I thought Cara’s loyalty to George would be impossible to break,” Hayley explained on Instagram.
“If I tried to get George out, but Cara wrote my name down, it could be a 2-1-1 with me going home. So my safest way to get to final 3, was to vote for Cara. Sorry my friend xx,” she added.
Cara also paid tribute to Hayley on her own page.
“Such a gem,” she wrote alongside a picture of the two. “Genuine and smart as paint 😍.”
In her real life, Hayley is working on a PhD in pain research. She explained in her introduction video for the show that administering placebo treatments had given her the manipulation skills she would need to go far on the show.
The research also helped her physical game.
“I’ve been studying pain for a long time … I ended up applying a lot of that theory when I was doing endurance challenges to help me feel less pain, I think,” she told WHO.
“I would ask myself: 'How dangerous is this to me, really?' I knew the challenges wouldn’t cause any serious injury, maybe a blister or sore muscles, so know that made the challenges less threatening,” she explained.
Big wave surfer Flick Palmateer is the only Brawn original heading into the final, but she’s doing it with gusto.
She won the immunity challenge in the second last episode, an emotional moment that brought her to tears as she shared that she had done it for her mother, Pauline, who very sadly passed away during filming.
“My Mum has been one of my biggest inspirations and the very reason that I do anything in life. She taught me more than she would ever know, she still continues to teach me things even though now she’s gone,” Flick shared on Instagram alongside images of her mum.
“I wish I had more time with you on this earth. You were taken way too soon. You're free now Mum and there’s no more suffering, where ever you are now must be a really magic place. I will continue to live for you Mum, it’s not right that you aren’t here. I love you and miss you.”
Despite the tragic loss, Flick decided to stay in the game, knowing that her mother would have wanted her to.
She also used the platform given to her by Survivor to raise money for Dementia and FTD research, given that her mother passed away from FTD, or early-onset dementia.
As of August 30, she had raised $20,000 for the campaign.
Flick has also spoke to the challenges of being at the bottom of the tribe – she was the only Brawn original left for the second and third last episodes, and believed her elimination was imminent.
“It’s been so incredibly tough and frustrating playing from the bottom for so long. As well as experiencing something so traumatic while playing one of the hardest games. It's required me to draw on some serious mental strength,” she divulged on Instagram.
“But I'm still here and I'm still fighting. And I’m doing it for my family and for my Mum 🕊🤍,” she shared.
Flick has also seen support from both fellow Survivor alumni and celebs from around Australia, who are loving watching her game unfold.
Elle Ferguson has called her incredible, while the likes of Felicity Egginton, Abbey Holmes and Brooke Jowett have offered support in her Instagram comments.
“You’ve been the most amazing role model to my three daughters, they’ve been cheering you on from the start. Tonight they were bouncing on the sofas with happiness! You never gave up! Xxx,” another fan wrote after Flick won last night’s immunity challenge.
While Flick has the strength to get to the end of the game – will she have the strategy?
The Survivor finale will air next Sunday, September 12 at 7.30pm on Channel 10.