TOM ROCKLIFF is reaping the rewards of Port Adelaide's "really courageous decision" to give the former Brisbane skipper a couple of games in the reserves to regain his confidence, Power coach Ken Hinkley says.
Rockliff was at his damaging best with 31 disposals, nine tackles and six clearances in the Power's thrilling five-point Showdown win against Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
Rockliff averaged just 12 disposals per game in the opening four rounds, having had a knee injury in the pre-season before injuring his calf in the Power's loss to Essendon.
Hinkley said the Power did the right thing by having Rockliff come back through the SANFL rather than get an instant recall to the senior side.
"We made a really courageous decision to leave him back in the SANFL for a couple of weeks," Hinkley told Melbourne radio station SEN on Monday morning.
"Tom is a proud person, he would much rather be in the AFL, but I think we ran him into a bit of touch.
"He had a couple of consecutive 30-possession games at that level and that transferred to the AFL level.
"We understand Tom is a high-quality midfielder, he just hadn't had the lead-up he needed to an AFL season the way he would like it."
The Power's other two big off-season additions – Geelong speedster Steven Motlop and Melbourne utility Jack Watts – also made their mark in their first Showdown.
Motlop became the hero with his match-winning goal with 21 seconds on the clock, while Watts impacted the game in the second half.
Hinkley said he would judge the value of their recruits at the end of the season.
"At the start of the year, they were the answer, everyone was saying it was fantastic, then three or four rounds in, it was starting to become a question," Hinkley said.
"Then again on the weekend, we saw the validation of why we brought some of those players in.
"That will get judged fair and square on our end result at the end of the year, not by this week or last week or three weeks ago."
The Power will fly out of Adelaide on Monday night to start the long trip to Shanghai for Saturday's clash with Gold Coast.
"It's one we're really comfortable with and one we've done in the past and we understand what's involved with it," Hinkley said.
"We look forward to getting together as a group and getting over there and representing the club the way we need to.
"There's a significant investment by our club to be in the China space and we play a small part in that.
"If our performance is right on the field, that helps everyone."