Rock bottom for Mathew Agostino was when he missed out on a mining job because he was too overweight.
“I passed the medical and everything, but they flagged me on my weight,” the 28-year-old said. “And they pretty much said, ‘No way’.
“That was sort of the first time that I’d ever been told ‘no’ without being able to prove meself. Whereas normally, I’ve been able to prove meself, and it’s been all good.”
Agostino knew he had to lose weight. So, 15 months ago, when he weighed 204 kilograms, he had gastric bypass surgery, to reduce the size of his stomach, at Port Macquarie.
The main motivation for having the surgery was the impact his size was having on his work. He was a light-vehicle mechanic. “Last year I hit the two hundreds [kilograms] and I thought, Right, I better do something about it.”
Since the surgery, Agostino has lost 87kg and now weights 117kg. “Everything’s completely different now; it’s easier.”
To celebrate his new leaner figure and improved outlook on life, he has resumed playing cricket – and will take to the field for Kookaburras’ first-grade side on day two of their clash against Court House at Kitchener Park on Saturday. Batting at No 4, he made 26 on day one – his highest score since returning to the game this year.
When he stopped playing cricket, “three or four” years ago, he weighed 170kg. His bulk was a factor in him walking away from a sport he had played since early childhood. He now finds cricket “enjoyable”.
“You don’t feel like you’re letting the team down because you can’t chase a ball or anything silly like that. Now I’m just happy to do it, and you don’t feel so bad afterwards.
“Whereas, obviously when I was heavy, you’re sort of dreading the ball comin’ near ya and havin’ to chase it down.”
The weight loss has also allowed Agostino to return to work as a tyre fitter – a job he likes because it keeps him active.
Born and bred in Gunnedah, and seemingly proud of the fact that he has never lived anywhere else, Agostino and his partner, Chanelle Callaghan, will have been together three years next month. “She’s happy with it [his reduced size]; she’s real happy,” he said.