The men from the Bruce Rock Football Club have launched their first nude calendar. (Supplied: Strange Images Photography)
A group of Western Australian footballers have released a cheeky calendar to raise funds and awareness for Wheatbelt Men’s Health (WMH).
The #hotpies 2018 calendar features about 30 players from the Bruce Rock Football Club.
It was planned as a club fundraiser, but the motivation behind the calendar changed direction when one of the players experienced a health scare.
League coach Leigh Strange said the club had been shocked when player Matt Gilbert, 28, shared the news he had to undergo surgery after finding a lump on his testicle.
“It was a pretty hard thing to hear from a mate and one of your players,” Mr Strange said.
“Luckily Matt is a real switched on young guy and he really did pick things up quickly, and luckily for him the outcome is good.”
After telling his coach, Mr Gilbert got all the players together to inform them of his situation.
“It has been really impressive to watch a guy like that face a pretty poor situation like he did, personally and in the club,” Mr Strange said.
“One of the prouder moments of me being a coach was when he stood up in front of the boys and told them.
“He was able to play that day before he went and had surgery and the boys said to him ‘you lead us out Matt, we are right behind you’.”
Matt Gilbert (L) was forced to the sidelines to undergo surgery after finding a lump on his testicle. (Supplied: Strange Images Photography)
The health scare was a wake-up call for all the players, and the Magpies decided to direct their efforts towards supporting WMH.
“We contacted Wheatbelt Men’s Health to see if they were interested in a joint venture to raise some money and awareness, and I suppose to have a bit of fun along the way,” the coach said.
Mr Strange said sporting clubs were the perfect place to start the conversation about men’s health.
“Football clubs are probably a pretty good example of where we need to push the message,” he said.
“We can fall into the trap of thinking that we are 10 foot tall and bullet proof.”
The men from the Bruce Rock Football Club with coach Leigh Strange (fifth from the left). (Supplied: Strange Images Photography)
Mr Gilbert, a father of one with another soon due, said it was now about 10 weeks since he had found the lump.
“I went to Perth and saw a GP and he directly sent me off to get scans and referred me to specialists,” the Bruce Rock carpenter said.
“The specialist told me it had a 99 per cent chance of being a cancerous lump.
“Within a week of seeing the GP I was on the operating table and had the testicle removed.”
A few days after the operation, the results of the biopsy came back as benign.
“That was great news,” he said.
Mr Gilbert says his favourite photos in the calendar are of the men at the bar. (Supplied: Strange Images Photography)
Mr Gilbert described the calendar as “diverse”, adding that it had been freezing cold on the days of the shoot.
“Some blokes had to put up with the cold and rain,” he said.
“But most of the blokes were more than happy to get involved. Some were hesitant to get their kit off.”
The calendar can be purchased from the Strange Images Photography website.
It was laughs all round when the men popped in for a drink in the nude. (Supplied: Strange Images Photography)