Final season of a contract year, a virus running rampant and the AFL season shut down indefinitely… 2020 was never going to be easy for Elliott Himmelberg.

The key forward shined for the Crows in Round 16 against Greater Western Sydney, notching 14 disposals, seven score involvements and two goals as Adelaide ran away 12-point winners.

Fast-forward 10 minutes, and Himmelberg was sharing the news of his two-year contract extension with his teammates in the changerooms.

“It was fantastic to tell them, especially after a win,” Himmelberg told AFC Media.

But barely a few months ago, with the season on ice due to coronavirus, the pinch-hit ruckman was in Queensland, doing anything he could to “make himself better”.

With his contract up at the end of 2020, Himmelberg knew the AFL freeze was no time to put the feet up.

“I didn’t dwell on it (a contract extension),” he said.

“I looked for ways to improve somehow… it wasn’t easy.

“But you have to find ways to get better continually no matter what the situation is… I feel a lot of us did that well during the break.”


Football’s return in the middle of June brought hope, but another roadblock appeared in Himmelberg’s path - senior selection.

It wasn’t until the Round Four clash with Brisbane that the former pick No.51 found himself in the side.

“At stages when you’re not in the team, you look for little things to keep your focus on,” Himmelberg said.

“The main focus is how you put yourself in contention.

“I always had the belief I would be able to come in and make an impact, I just had to work on a few things to get the opportunity.”

Of course, more important than anything for a player, is getting the backing of your coach.

“I’ve been able to chat with Nicksy throughout the whole year,” Himmelberg said.

“He’s been really clear with what he wants and has certainly helped me discover new ways to get better.

“I think it’s showing for a lot of boys at the moment.”

After a career-high four contested marks against the Giants, Himmelberg is finding himself more and more comfortable in the senior side.

Tuesday, however, brought another strange moment for Himmelberg in 2020 - playing against his brother Harry in front of his parents for the first time.

“Mum and Dad had an easy night, cheering every goal,” he said.

“Harry and I chat here and there… I usually see him a bit more but that’s just the way this year has gone.

“We played on each other at the back end of the game, which was weird… there wasn’t much banter though, the game was in the balance so we were both zoned in.

“I wasn’t too hard on Harry after the win… might be a bit different by Christmas time though.”

Grabbing marks, kicking goals, a two-year contract extension… what happened to spur Himmelberg on in the back half of 2020?

Two words: team first.

“I’m just a by-product of what we’re able to do as a team,” he said.

“Everyone has been good the last five weeks. Everyone is buying in.

“I’m really excited about the way the Club is moving.”