Rockliff to return for Port

Rockliff to return for Port

AFL ladder-leaders Port Adelaide will summon veteran midfielder Tom Rockliff for Thursday night’s match against Melbourne.

Rockliff was dropped after round five but returns for the fixture in Brisbane, with halfback Jarrod Lienert recalled for his first senior game since round one.

Power coach Ken Hinkley says the pair will replace Todd Marshall (broken thumb) and Riley Bonner (soreness).

Rockliff, a 195-gamer, will bolster a Port midfield seeking to combat the influence of Melbourne’s ace ruckman Max Gawn.

“He (Rockliff) brings great quality to the team with the way we want to use the ball and he helps instruct other people set up around the ground,” Hinkley told reporters on Wednesday.

The Gabba match against the Demons begins Port’s compressed schedule of games, with their following match coming on Monday night.

Hinkley believed the crammed fixture would provide opportunities for fringe players, given the likely need to rest some more seasoned campaigners.

“There might be some careers made in this period of time, there might be some people who come out of nowhere,” he said.

“There’s some uncertainty about this stretch.

“It’s going to happen quick …there is going to be some real adjustments in where people sit (on the ladder) in 19 days.

“It may be season-defining but I think the season is going to be so close and so tight.”

Hinkley was excited at the need to be creative as a coach during Port’s next four games in a 16-day span.

“We need to be flexible and creative with what we do,” he said.

“I don’t mind looking at opportunities and as a coaching staff we have talked through a lot of that already.

“And we will certainly look to be flexible with some of our game day stuff as well.

“We will have to mix and match a little bit but every team is going to have to though in this next period of time.

“It’s quite exciting to think you have got to be a bit creative with what you do and how you do it.”

(C) AAP 2020