Setu playing with fire: hard-running centre leaves the burrow to become a Dragon


THE Mudgee Wombats’ pain is the Mudgee Dragons’ gain, and considering his dominance last season you’d think other Blowes Clothing Cup sides would be breathing a sigh of relief after Rota Setu’s defection to rugby league.

Especially Orange Emus considering they copped Setu’s most scintillating performance of 2015 - he inspired the Wombats to a ground-breaking 39-31 victory over the eventual premiers at Jubilee Oval last year.

He also led the side to a fairytale finals appearance, in the club’s second year back in the Blowes Clothing Cup competition.

But Emus hooker Tom Goolagong went the opposite way, expressing severe disappointment when he heard the fleet-footed outside centre was lost to rugby union for 2016.

“It will make Mudgee an easier prospect for us and other teams, obviously, he’s a huge loss for the Wombats. But in the big picture, it’s an even bigger loss for Central West Rugby Union,” Goolagong said.

“He tore us apart last year in Mudgee, and he was one of the premier players in the competition last season, so it’s very disappointing to see him go to rugby league. That’s assuming he won’t play rugby union too though.

“Everyone wants to be playing against the best players they possibly can and I think Rota was one of the top three backline players in this region, along with [Orange City fullback] Joe Lasagavibau and [Emus winger] Carter Hirini.

“I’m sure he’ll do well in rugby league too though.”

Despite whispers of a number of Group 10 clubs chasing his signature, Setu wasn’t expected to leave the Wombats considering his extensive history in the 15-man code - he’s a former Queensland and Australian Schoolboy, he spent a season with Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) and had a stint in the Waikato Chiefs development squad.

But Mudgee Dragons president Rob O’Connor explained Setu’s decision was born from wanting to “have a crack” at rugby league.

He’s not going into the 2016 Group 10 season blind either, Setu spent time in the St George-Illawarra Dragons system as well.

“He comes with very good credentials, he’s got a history of excellence, so we’re hoping he’ll do well for us,” O’Connor said.


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