TO make tribal merge once on Australian Survivor is an accomplishment but to do it twice only shows Luke Toki is living up to his self-imposed title as ‘King of the Jungle’.
“It was cool and amazing,” Toki, of Baldivis, said.
“With returning, there was a big fear that I’d get eliminated early but I somehow managed to dodge some pretty sticky situations and make it where I’m at.”
Toki came seventh in the 2017 Australian Survivor filmed in Samoa and was invited back for this season’s Australian Survivor: Champions V Contenders as the ‘People’s Champion’.
“I definitely understood the rules of the game and how you could manipulate and analyse people a little bit differently,” he said.
“I found what made them tick to use things against them later on, knowing they’d get upset at certain things.
“I knew I could change my game a little bit to potentially help me win. I like to think I learn from my mistakes rather make more mistakes.
“I thought I’d come in with a little bit of a different game plan and so far so good.”
As if leaving his wife Mary and two young sons Lennox (7) and Nate (5) was not difficult enough in 2017, this time there was also his six-week-old daughter Madeline too, who had just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Toki said he was more emotionally invested to winning this time, given his situation.
“How often do you have a one in 24 chance to win $500,000 in 50 days?” he said.
“I couldn’t save $500,000 in 10 years and knowing if I came seventh last time, what’s to say I couldn’t win it this time?”
Toki said his only preparation and training before flying to Fiji for filming was changing nappies and taking his boys to school.
“I didn’t prepare too much physically this time because I was already run off my feet before going out there,” he said.
“But it’s paying off. There are some big characters and people left who have made some big moves already pre-merge.
“I thought pre-merge was good and now we’re rolling into merge and are we going to be able to keep that same momentum? I think we will.”
Australian Survivor: Champions V Contenders continues on Ten, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.