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“That’s a wrap for me” Why winner Mark Wales won’t be returning to Survivor

"I'm really grateful to have played again with Sam and gotten to the end."
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Former SAS soldier and returning Australian Survivor contestant Mark Wales was named sole survivor of Blood V Water last night and has woken up this morning with a life changed for good.

WATCH BELOW: Mark Wales wins Australian Survivor: Blood V Water for 2022

After making it into the top three, Mark delivered a flawless pitch to the jury made up of eliminated contestants, where he went through each aspect of his strategy on Survivor, explaining why he made the moves he did to get himself closer to the win.

He prevailed with a unanimous vote – something seen only once before in the Australian version of the series – and celebrated with his wife, Samantha Gash, who was on the jury, having played alongside him for most of the game.

They also left the world’s greatest game $500,000 richer, which they plan to put into spending more time with their young son, Harry.

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Mark got to celebrate with Samantha by his side. (Credit: 10)

“Sam and I – we were hoping we’d win but we never assumed it, so we haven’t given it tons of thought,” Mark tells WHO over the phone.

“We love spending time together as a family. I think that’s the best thing about this, it buys us time, it buys us options, we can do other stuff, we don’t need to work for a year, we can just go hang out as a family.

“It’s super-exciting, and I’m really grateful to have played again with Sam and gotten to the end,” he says.

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“We can just go hang out as a family.” (Credit: Instagram)

This year’s theme, Blood V Water, required contestants to play alongside a family member or very close friend, but the first few minutes of the game saw them separated, and forced to play against each other for the first few gruelling weeks.

However, it wasn’t anything new for Mark and Sam, who met while playing Survivor on its second Australian season and have been inseparable ever since.

While they were voted out on that season for being too much of a ‘power couple’, Blood V Water allowed them to play their own game up until merge, where they became a force to be reckoned with, sharing two idols between them.

Their plan was to put all their efforts into one of them winning, which ultimately saw Sam sacrifice a chance at immunity so that Mark could go forward with the idol at play.

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Mark is adamant this season was probably his last. (Credit: 10)

However, the intensity of the game took its toll on Mark this time around.

“It does play with you emotionally because you have to be trusting the people, also know at some point they’re mentally deciding when they’re going to try and target you … you never quite feel safe,” he reflects.

“I think that’s a wrap for me,” he says with a laugh when asked if he’d consider a third season of Survivor.

“I don’t think I can go back, but I think – I’d love to see Sam play again. I’d really love that.

“I think she’s got more to offer, she played so well,” he said of his wife.

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Mark alongside his fellow final four. (Credit: 10)

As is often the case when it comes to Survivor, Mark and Sam were forced to betray their close friends in the game to secure a shot at the win.

While Jesse Hansen was brutally blindsided by Sam, it was Josh Millgate who copped the heat from Mark last night, just missing out on a spot in the final three.

However, their close friendship has prevailed.

“We’re good mates, we played the whole game together,” Mark assures us.

“It was actually horrendous when we voted him out, Chrissy and I were both crying.”

The Blood V Water cast have remained a tight-knit clan since filming ended, with Mark and Sam staying close with the likes of Josh, Jordan Schmidt, Chrissy Zaremba, Jordie and Jesse Hansen, and Mel and Michele Chiang.

They also recently went away on a small birthday trip for Harry, where Khanh and fellow contestant Nina Diaz-Twine also tagged along.

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“I would love to see him play!” (Credit: Instagram)

And while he has only just turned four, Mark has hopes that maybe Harry will pick up the Survivor gauntlet someday.

“I would love to see him play!” Mark says with a hearty laugh.

“We’d have to wait about a decade or so, but I’d be chuffed.

“He’s a cute kid,” he adds.

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