So he suggested to Teague that he could help Cripps at the coalface and his coach agreed.
Finally injury free, he attacked a rare full pre-season with the aim of better inside footy on his mind.
“It’s been well documented Patty Cripps has had to shoulder all the load for a long time,” Setterfield said.
“A lot of it [pre-season learning] was craft at stoppages, so body work, how you move your opponent, then transition from stoppages so getting forward hard or running defensively. It’s a bit different to a winger because when you’re inside you do a lot more wrestling at the stoppage but you go from that to transition running. It’s a real mix of being able to run both ways but then have the strength to wrestle into the stoppage against your opponent and do the tackling and grunt work.”
Cripps and Ed Curnow helped school him in the dark arts of stoppage body work, while famed conditioning coach Andrew Russell also offered counsel.
“He [Russell] has been huge,” Setterfield said. “We have worked really hard on developing my body and putting on size. I’m still not at the size I want to get to, I am trying to put on another couple of kilos of muscle.
“He has helped me get power and strength out of my body.”
Setterfield’s kicking used to wane in games because a lack of pre-seasons meant he fatigued quicker. Now he runs on top of the ground and because there’s more energy in his legs he holds his technique better.
“You get full strength and endurance from your body and are ready for the season body wise and with foot skills and game readiness,” he said.
“The fitter you are the more time you have with the ball. You will be more composed and not ‘gassed’ as such when you’ve got the ball.
“The better you cover the ground, you get to more contests, you spread better and it gives more composure with the ball.”
Setterfield says he and Matt Kennedy’s inside midfield work to support Cripps has helped the team perform more evenly in 2020. When the 22 contributes more evenly wins are more likely, Setterfield says.
Cripps repays the favour beyond just dishing out midfield tips to Setterfield. Both study commerce, with Cripps having almost finished his degree and Setterfield closer to the start, so the captain is a handy study sounding board.
They would, in normal circumstances, spend a bit of their spare time studying together at Melbourne’s Nike HQ library in the city with their heads buried in textbooks.
Setterfield is now averaging 17 per cent more contested possessions per game and 1.2 more clearances per outing. He is second at the club for tackles, applying 20 in his last three games.
On Sunday against a rampant West Coast – in Carlton’s annual “Carlton Respects” match, which spreads awareness on gender equality and reducing family violence – Setterfield says the Blues can’t afford another heavy swing like they did versus Hawthorn.
In 20 games under Teague, the Blues have conceded a 30-point swing 13 times.
“We have definitely been trying to address it and have spoken about it a lot this week,” Setterfield said.
“Those swings are happening so it’s how we handle them out on the field. Something we are trying to do is take the scoreboard out of effect and not concentrate on that, just focus on what we have got to do in the process to keep playing well.”
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.