Himmelberg on the cusp of Draft glory

Harrison Himmelberg looks set to continue Canberra's recent run of AFL draft success. (Photo: Michael Dodge/AFL Media)

Eastlake’s 192cm key forward Harrison Himmelberg is shaping as Canberra’s best prospect at this year’s draft, hoping to reach his dream of playing in the AFL.

A tall and agile forward, Himmelberg has impressed with his ability to impact the match up forward.

He plays both as a deep forward, but also high up the field, where he is able to run off his opponent and find the ball.

His agility and speed allow him to move well through traffic, while his football smarts and ground work are very good for his size.

The 19-year-old was one of 76 players named to attend this year’s AFL national draft combine, to be held in Melbourne from October 8.

Growing up in Wagga Wagga, Himmelberg played for Mangoplah in the Riverina Football League before moving to Canberra at the start of the year to play for Eastlake in the NEAFL.

As a youngster Himmelberg was a natural athlete, excelling at a range of sports including basketball and swimming. Himmelberg started playing basketball at the age of ten and started playing footy for Mangoplah at the age of twelve. Coming through the junior ranks he played at a representative level in basketball, swimming and AFL. Like many multi-talented youngsters Himmelberg had to make the difficult choice between sports.

“When it got to under 16 level things started to get pretty serious and I had to make a decision of what sport I was going to play,” Himmelberg said.

“I decided to go for footy due to the pure enjoyment factor.”

Himmelberg tributes his background as a point guard in basketball his poise, balance and agility in the contest.

It’s hard to believe now given his stature, but Himmelberg wasn’t always tall. At a younger age he was short amongst his peers, standing a little over five feet tall, before a growth spurt at the age of 16.

“Being small and playing point guard really helped with my agility, speed and movement.

“It also helped me learn about match awareness and has transferred over to my footy”

The Eastlake young gun has modelled his game on Giants full-forward Jeremy Cameron and West Coast superstar Josh Kennedy.

But he has been compared to GWS cult figure Cam McCarthy.

“It’s nice to be compared to him [Mcarthy] – I suppose we look similar with the blonde locks and the man bun,  but if I can get anywhere near to his level I’ll be happy,” Himmelberg said.

A broken jaw forced Himmelberg to miss 11 games in his 2014 season. As a result he was allowed to play in the 2015 RAMS program, under the guidance of Sydney Swans premiership player Tadhg Kennelly.

Himmelberg made the most of his second chance, turning in three eye-catching National Championships performances, and he’s aiming to round out his year by figuring prominently in the UWS GIANTS’ NEAFL finals campaign.

If he can reproduce anything like his mid-year form don’t be surprised to hear Himmelberg’s name called early in Adelaide during November’s National Draft.