The GWS Giants have issued an ultimatum they hope will turn around their misfortune in big games – get the ball in Harry Himmelberg’s hands.
Why? Because the Riverina product is never out of the equation and “good things happen when he gets it”.
Himmelberg is set to play a key role in the Giants forward line when they host the Fremantle Dockers at Manuka Oval on Saturday.
The former Eastlake Demons star learnt the craft of a good forward when he transitioned into the backline upon joining the Giants, and now he is utilising those skills in his return to the other end of the park.
GWS forwards coach Brad Miller admits Himmelberg still has “a lot to learn” but the 21-year-old has all the pieces of the puzzle to become a premier AFL forward – it is just a matter of putting them together.
“He’s tall so he plays a key position but he’s also a bit of a hybrid because he can move really well and he is quite agile,” Miller said.
“You might see him around the footy at certain times throughout the year. Once the ball hits the deck, he’s not out of the equation.
“He is really creative when he wins the ball at ground level, he can actually put guys into space with his hands which is quite unique with his size.
“[Himmelberg] is starting to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the forward line which is good. He’s going to continue to improve and evolve which he will have to keep his spot in the side but currently he is playing a role which has been really important for us.
“He’ll start forward and hopefully get a little bit more of the ball offensively. I feel like he has been around the mark defensively so I’d just like the ball in his hands a little bit more because often good things happen when he gets it.
“We’ll be trying to get it in his hands as much as possible, particularly leading up, taking marks and being able to roll around and make good decisions going inside 50.”
Himmelberg has kicked three goals in three games to open the 2018 campaign after AFL legend Kevin Sheedy earmarked the Wagga Wagga junior for bigger things.
But he is hungry for more as he prepares to face a former teammate in dashing Fremantle defender Nathan Wilson, who shifted to Western Australia in a trade during the off-season.
“My start to the year probably hasn’t been as good as I would have wanted it to be but I suppose every player would say that,” Himmelberg said.
“I’ll hopefully look to put together some consistent footy going forward working with the forwards. Hopefully we can work on gelling together this weekend and get the win.
“Boys like [Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene and Jon Patton] that have played hundreds of games are really valuable to learn off as well as the coaches so the more I can take in from those boys the faster I will develop.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game this weekend, they’ve got a really strong midfield and the rest of their team is playing really well as well. It will be a really good duel.
“I lived in Canberra for a year so it’s always exciting to get back and see some of my friends that I made there. It’s really exciting to get back to a familiar deck in Canberra and take on Freo.”
AFL ROUND FOUR
Saturday – GWS Giants v Fremantle Dockers at Manuka Oval, 1.45pm. Tickets from Ticketek.
Source: The Canberra Times (10th April 2018)