Block auction result nobody saw coming

Cairns 'cane toads' and series underdogs Tess and Luke are the surprise winners of The Block 2019, pocketing a staggering $730,000 for their efforts.

The newlyweds beat their competitors in an action-packed auction that saw even this year's 'losing' couple going home several hundred thousand dollars richer.

"What just happened?" host Scott Cam asked after the couple's surprise win.

And the life-changing win came just a few weeks after Tess and Luke went rogue in an interview with, sensationally slamming the show and accusing producers of bullying them and editing them to make them look lazy.

But speaking to's Shireen Khalil after Saturday's auction, the pair declared they had "no regrets" about signing up.

Here's how the night played out …



Tess and Luke couldn't believe they’d won.
Tess and Luke couldn't believe they’d won.

In a Block first, each couple's house had the same reserve: $2.990 million for each of the five three-storey terraces that make up the former Oslo Hotel in St Kilda. That came as a relief to all couples, most of whom expected the reserves to be set at above $3 million.

Veteran renovators Mitch and Mark went first, the hammer falling on their house at $3.374 million, which was $384,000 over their reserve.

Passionate buyers whipped Tess and Luke's auction into a frenzy, the house going for a whopping $3.620 million, scoring them $630,000 over reserve.

Perth couple El'ise and Matt were next, selling their house for $3.450 million, which was $460,000 over their reserve.


Jesse and Mel watch the auction.
Jesse and Mel watch the auction.


Matt and El'ise were thrilled with their result.
Matt and El'ise were thrilled with their result.

Winner of the public vote during open for inspection, Andy and Deb's house sold for $3.420 million, $430,000 over reserve. Finally, real estate agent Jesse and his partner Mel sold their house for $3.378 million - earning $388,000 over the reserve.

Here's how they all ranked:

WINNER: Tess and Luke, $730,000 ($630,000 over reserve + $100,000 prize money)

2ND PLACE: El'ise and Matt, $460,000

3RD PLACE: Andy and Deb, $430,000

4TH PLACE: Jesse and Mel, $388,000

5TH PLACE: Mitch and Mark, $384,000

The winnings for each couple were huge this year - only two seasons ago, the fifth-placed couple won a comparatively small $95,000, while last year, fifth-placers Norm and Jess won $209,000.

But the couples' placings were also an upset after a season that's seen Mitch and Mark frequently placed frontrunners, and self-described "dark horses" Tess and Luke repeatedly portrayed as out of their depth and falling behind the rest of the competition.

About that …



Tess and Luke during the season …
Tess and Luke during the season …


… and after their win.
… and after their win.

The young Cairns couple gave an extraordinary interview to three weeks ago, declaring they wished they'd never applied for the show and accusing producers of bullying them. The pair claimed The Block was so "full of s**t" they no longer even tuned in.

"We thought this was going to be an amazing, positive experience in our life, but we wish we never went on this bloody thing. We got bullied the whole way through (filming) the show, and now we feel like they're bullying us on the show as well," Luke said.

Tess also didn't mince words. "We're really upset - we're not coping with it any more. We're really heartbroken," she said. "We just want this over and done with. It's really sad that we feel like we have to explain ourselves to people who have no idea who we really are. They're judging us based on a show that is completely full of sh*t."

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Speaking to's Shireen Khalil after their surprise win yesterday, the couple were celebrating, but still said they were unhappy with their portrayal through the season.

"We are so grateful to be on The Block. Our lives have changed completely, but you do get really upset being portrayed a certain way and but it's because you don't see everything. And unfortunately we were portrayed as the lazy ones, but you can't win The Block being lazy," Tess told

"We probably weren't the most organised but we weren't the laziest," said Luke.

Tess said they'd been doing it tough since filming finished, dealing with the public's perceptions of them as lazy.

"Mentally it is still very hard. Were living this life we never thought we would live. Were going through things we never thought we would go through together and it is a struggle," she said.

Despite those struggles, Tess said after the auction win the couple had "no regrets now" about their reality TV stint.

Some viewers were less than thrilled to see Tess and Luke take home the win:









Cam couldn't help but acknowledge the elephant in the room as an elated Tess and Luke watched their auction win.

"We feel as though maybe you thought you had made the wrong decision to come on the show. How do you feel about being on the show right now?" he asked them

Then, turning to camera as the Tess and Luke left to celebrate with the other contestants, Cam quipped: "I tell you what - they love The Block now."

Speaking to after the auction, Cam insisted producers had not edited Tess and Luke to appear lazy or inept.

"We just shoot it as we see it, and that's what we saw. It's a rollercoaster. But later in the show, they have a good time. We didn't edit them to look a certain way," he said.



Andy and Deb get emotional.
Andy and Deb get emotional.

Before the auction started, an emotional Andy and Deb admitted their "hearts and minds" were elsewhere. The couple live with their children in the small NSW coastal town of Wallabi Point, which has been under threat from the fires engulfing Australia's east coast over the weekend.

"Our house was under threat of being engulfed by fire. And along with our neighbours and community everyone has been evacuated, and, you know, our minds and hearts have been at home on that. I love everybody at home and we just hope they are all well," said Andy, as wife Deb fought back tears.


The fires in Wallabi Point over the weekend.
The fires in Wallabi Point over the weekend.

Speaking to Domain, Scott Cam said Andy and Deb's children and other family members were staying at a relief centre on Saturday after "eight-storey flames" came within 100 metres of the family's home.

"I just spoke to Andy not that long ago. He's obviously concerned about his kids and family. But they're at the moment safe in a centre where most of the people from Wallabi Point have gone," Cam said on Saturday morning.


Mitch and Mark camein at a surprising fifth place.
Mitch and Mark camein at a surprising fifth place.

While a profit of $384,000 is hardly a 'loss', Mitch and Mark's fifth-placing in the competition was a big upset, given their frontrunner status all season. The couple scored the most room wins - four - and their 'party house' drew consistent praise from the judges, who felt they'd got the edge over their competitors by converting one upstairs bedroom into a living space, thereby turning the whole level into an entertaining area.

But in what was an omen of things to come, Mitch and Mark came last in the public vote when the five houses were finally opened for inspection, with Tess and Luke placing second.

Early in Sunday's grand final, Mitch and Mark were shown volunteering to go first at auction, a decision real estate agent Jesse described as "noble." As a top buyer's advocate who's bought several Block properties told after the auction, it was also a decision that could've cost them the win.


Tess and Luke's mammoth win gives them a top-five placing in the Block winners' hall of fame:

2003 - BONDI - Adam & Fiona, $256,000

2004 - MANLY - Jamie & Andrew, $178,000

2010 - VAUCLUSE - John & Neisha, $305,000

2011 - RICHMOND - Polly & Waz, $115,000

2012 - SOUTH MELBOURNE - Brad & Lara, $606,000

2013 - ALL STARS (BONDI) - Phil & Amity, $395,000

2013 - SKY HIGH (SOUTH MELBOURNE) - Alisa & Lysandra, $395,000

2014 - FANS v FAVES (ALBERT PARK) - Steve & Chantelle, $736,000

2014 - GLASSHOUSE (PRAHRAN) - Shannon & Simon, $435,000

2015 - TRIPLE THREAT (SOUTH YARRA) - Darren & Deanne, $935,000

2015 - THE BLOCKTAGON (SOUTH YARRA) - Dean & Shay, $755,000

2016 - THE BLOCK 2016 (PORT MELBOURNE) - Will & Karlie, $815,000

2017 - THE BLOCK 2017 (ELSTERNWICK) - Josh & Elyse, $547,000

2018 - THE BLOCK GATWICK (ST KILDA) - Hayden & Sara, $645,000

2019 - THE BLOCK OSLO (ST KILDA) - Tess and Luke, $730,000

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