“I did a lot of work with them at rehab, they showed me the way with the hard work. When I got drafted I didn’t know enough about that, I was playing off a bit of talent,” Setterfield said this week. “They were very meticulous, resilient, not giving in, doing extras. That’s something my first two years in AFL I learned very quickly.
“No one goes uninjured their whole career. These things happen, you have to move on.”
Such was his enjoyment of life in Sydney, Setterfield signed a contract extension in his first year tying him to the club until the end of 2020.
But when the salary cap squeeze came it made sense for the Giants to release an untested youngster being paid more than most two-gamers than a proven player on similar money.
Essendon and Carlton were interested in Setterfield, who hails from Albury and completed his schooling in Melbourne. Despite being a Bombers fan as a child, he chose the Blues.
“Now I play for the enemy, it’s funny how that works out,” Setterfield joked. “Because I was at the Giants, I was fully invested in them for the two years so by the time it got to being traded I wasn’t emotionally connected to Essendon, I had no connection. It didn’t play a part in any of my decisions.
“I’m very happy with the situation now. I’m very happy at Carlton.”
Not being in the spotlight is part of the attraction for some footballers to play in Sydney but there would not be many who do not enjoy being out on the MCG in front of a big crowd. In round one, he played before 85,000, last week nearly 70,000 turned out.
“It’s an amazing experience, you have to pinch yourself at times,” Setterfield said. “You can go through games and not realise what you’ve done in front of such a big crowd. Talking to other young players, it’s pretty cool to have played in front of such a big crowd against a big rival. That’s one of the main reasons I came to Carlton – massive history, massive footy club.”
But by leaving the Giants for the Blues, Setterfield’s chances of playing in finals are slim in the short term. Come September, his former teammates will in all probability be in a fourth finals series.
“Coming to Carlton, I was keen to jump on board, ride the journey the whole way,” Setterfield said. “We’ve got a promising future here. A lot of young up and coming players who are very driven to succeed. I’m very happy I’m part of the journey. We’re not that far off it.”
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald