Footy boys strip down for a good cause

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeThe West Australian
VideoThey are raising money for Wheatbelt Mens' Health.

Some of the Wheatbelt’s buffest men have stripped down, stretched and strode the football field to raise money for charity.

Bruce Rock Football Team put together a calendar to raise money for Wheatbelt Men’s Health after a player’s recent health scare.

Local carpenter Matt Gilbert said his life was turned upside down when he found a lump in his left testicle in May.

Aged 28, with a wife, toddler and a baby due this month, he said the news “put life on the backburner” until it was “sorted out”.

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“The specialist told me there was a 99 per cent chance it was cancerous,” Mr Gilbert said.

“There was a lot running through my head, especially when the word cancer was involved.

“Everything was put on hold, work and footy, and within a week I had surgery and the whole thing was removed.”

Fortunately, the surgery revealed the lump was benign and Mr Gilbert was given a clean bill of health.

He was one of more than 30 of blokes who stripped down to nothing for the recent calendar shoot.

The group was captured in the football club changerooms, gym and the local oval.

Midfielders Josh Nelson and Josh Newman with centre half-forward Cody Nelson.
Camera IconMidfielders Josh Nelson and Josh Newman with centre half-forward Cody Nelson. Credit: Strange Images

Behind the lens were Leigh and De-Anne Strange, two Bruce Rock farmers with a side photography business called Strange Images.

The pair came up with the calendar idea after hearing about Mr Gilbert’s diagnosis.

Mr Strange, who is also the league coach, said the group drew a “little bit of inspiration” from the Perth firefighters calendar.

“There were some blokes that couldn’t get their clothes off fast enough,” he laughed.

“When these calendars are done well, they are really good and we are very happy with how this has come up.”

The calendar was officially launched at the team’s clubrooms on Saturday after their home game against Kulin-Kondinin.

Dozens of supporters turned up to the club on Saturday to grab the calendar, which is now on sale.

Sweetening the launch was a 141-60 win by the local side. The calendar is titled “Hot Pie” and features images converted to black-and-white to reflect the Bruce Rock Magpies’ colours.

Mr Strange said the team chose to split the funds between the club and Wheatbelt Men’s Health.

“Given the current season, it is unfortunately a ‘good’ time to reinforce both the physical and mental health message,” he said.

“As you know, us blokes think we are all bulletproof sometimes. In years like this when people are struggling a bit with the poorer year, WMH has a big role to play and people certainly know they are out there.”

The not-for-profit organisation was founded in 2002 and works to promote men’s wellbeing and health.

It also sponsors the annual “talk to a mate” round across all WA country football leagues.

Wheatbelt Men’s Health community educator Owen Catto travelled to Bruce Rock on Saturday to launch the calendar.

“It was a great, lighthearted way for the blokes to have some fun, put forward a message and help promote what we do,” he said.

“The calendars will support the club and us and we will use the money to help sponsor our ‘talk to a mate’ round and purchase some resources.”

Mr Gilbert features on the calendar’s September page and said he would encourage men to have “weird lumps” checked out.

“My doctor told me these things are very common but quite treatable, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” he said.

The calendars cost $23.50 from strangeimagesphotography.com.

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