A FRANK discussion with Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley gave veteran forward Lindsay Thomas the motivation he needed to become a valuable attacking weapon for the top-four contender.
The 30-year-old has fought his way back from a four-game suspension on his Power debut to be an important contributor in the past two weeks.
Thomas – who kicked 325 goals in 205 games in 11 seasons with North Melbourne – was seen as insurance for the Power when he re-joined the club he was drafted from on a one-year rookie-list deal at the end of last season.
But he's playing so well that he's keeping pressure forward Jake Neade and talented youngster Aidyn Johnson out of the side.
After waiting until round five to break into the team, a crude hit on Geelong midfielder Scott Selwood earnt Thomas an unwanted four-week holiday.
"It wasn't ideal getting that suspension early on, but I spoke with Kenny after it and he put it on me," Thomas told AFL.com.au.
"He said if I'm willing to put in the hard work and do everything right, an opportunity was going to be there for me eventually.
"It gives you a bit of confidence because you have a coach that backs you and you want to do well, but he put it on me pretty hard and it was good.
"I put in the hard work for four weeks and I knew deep down an opportunity for me would eventually arise."
Thomas earnt his recall through impressive SANFL form, booting an accurate 9.3 in three games.
He's only kicked three goals from as many senior games for the Power, but his major in the last quarter in last Friday night's 10-point over Melbourne turned momentum back their way.
"It's really enjoyable at the moment to be playing in that forward line," Thomas said.
"We've got a lot of talent there, but us working together as a group is really starting to show now.
"I don't have to kick four, five, six goals a week; I've just got to play my role."
Thomas has moved on from the incident with Selwood and said he would continue to play on the edge.
"I've always been taught to be a see-ball, get-ball type of player, even my time at North Melbourne," he said.
"The incident that happened with Scott wasn't intentional, I just went over the top.
"It was unfortunate I hit him in the head, but I've moved on from that and I'm just really focused on this group."
Thomas said his body was feeling good and he hadn't ruled out playing on next year.
The fifth-placed Power have won five of their past six games ahead of their clash with cellar-dwellers Carlton at the MCG on Saturday.