Gabbatroopers tap into the force field
A Townsville man has revealed an English County Cricket game with "50 overweight Poms" in the crowd is what sparked his annual viral sensation at the Gabba test match.
For the last two years Tony Holznagel and a large group of mates have attended the cricket at the GABBA dressed up as Star Wars characters.
Mr Holznagel went as Darth Vader two years ago for his 40th birthday, while 83 friends were dressed as storm troopers.
Last year the group also added Yoda to the mix, and the Australian cricket community can't get enough.
"I saw a picture of a County Cricket game with 50 overweight Poms dressed up as Robin in the crowd and the birthday guy was dressed as Batman," Mr Holznagel said.
"So we did the Star Wars theme and Cricket Australia loved it and wanted us to continue to do it.
"Last year we had 185 of us and we introduced Yoda. Everyone loved him, he was all over TV.
"I didn't expect it to get this big. Players were coming up and getting photos with us. It just took off."
The 'Gabbatroopers' are now getting ready for their third test, but this time they will be not fighting the dark side of the force, but mens health.
"I noticed in my life how many mental health issues there are," Mr Holznagel said.
"I've had a tough year and I know a number of friends have struggled with the pandemic and everything else that has gone on.
"We've got this great group happening, so I thought let's do some good.
"I told Cricket Australia I'd had a tough year and would like to make a difference, and they said Movember was an official partner.
"They told Movember we were keen to do something and they were wrapped to have us on board. They were right behind us from the get go."
Not only is the 42-year-old growing a bit of fur on the top lip for Movember, but he is undertaking a 60km walk with good mate Matt Geiger to fundraise.
The pair are walking from The Strand to Ross River Damn and back on November 28.
The 60km represents the 60 men lost to suicide across the world every hour.
They set a fundraising goal of $7000, but have already blasted past the $6000 barrier.
"As we fundraise to certain levels we unlock new characters for the cricket.
"So far we have C-3PO, an x-wing pilot, Admiral Ackbar, Kylo Ren, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Princess Leia and Chewbacca.
"The last character I set to unlock was Jar Jar Binks at $7000 because he is a bit of a cult hero. But we're almost there so maybe I should think of some more (laughs)."
The Brisbane test has been moved from its traditional slot of opening up the summer of cricket and will be played from January 15.
Originally published as Gabbatroopers tap into the force field