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Rockliff: The body feels good

Tom Rockliff press conference: 13 February 2019 - PTV Tom Rockliff speaks the media about AFLX, any shoulder concerns and more

This story originally appeared on afl.com.au

SURVIVING a stinging bump from teammate Sam Powell-Pepper has given Port Adelaide midfielder Tom Rockliff the confidence his reconstructed left shoulder is good to go.

Rockliff went under the knife for the second time in August last year – a more extensive operation after having keyhole surgery in September, 2017.

The former Brisbane captain is back in full training and will play in the Power's intraclub game on Friday afternoon.

Rockliff will also play in the AFLX tournament next Friday as a replacement for teammate Robbie Gray, who has pulled out with knee soreness.

"I'm much further in front of where I was this time last year," Rockliff said.

"I've been in full contact now for two or three weeks and my shoulder has been hit quite hard.

"(Sam Powell-Pepper) got me the other day, blindsided me and felt really good, so I've passed the Sam Powell-Pepper fitness test and the body feels good.

"I've had no hiccups this time around.

"I felt like I got a couple of knocks early on it when I went back into match simulation last year and didn't quite settle as well.

"The first time you go through it you're not exactly sure, you're sort of being guided a little bit, but doing it 12 months ago, I felt I was ahead of the game and knew the markers I had to hit before I got out there."

Rockliff had a frustrating first season with the Power last year, averaging 20.6 disposals per game, well down on his career mark of 25.8.

The shoulder injury bothered him for most of the season while he also took time to adjust to his new surroundings having joined the Power on a four-year deal during the 2017 NAB AFL Trade Period.

"Coming into a new environment, I feel like 12 months down the track, I know my teammates better and they know me better, they know the way I play, I know the way they play," he said.

"I was probably a little bit tentative at times last year because I didn't want to step on the boys' toes, Ollie (Wines) and guys like that.

"I feel like I'm in a much better position being in the system for 12 months, knowing the boys, but also confidence in the body, completed pretty much all the pre-season, albeit a little bit modified early with the shoulder, but done all the running and feel like I'm ready to go."

Rockliff expects to spend most of his time as an inside midfielder having trained there for most of the pre-season.

Part of the Power's leadership group last year, Rockliff said he didn't mind if the club appointed a sole captain, as has been tradition, or co-captains for the first time.

"The right decision will be made by the club, for the club," Rockliff said.

"Whether that's one captain, two captains, three captains, I'm not sure what it's going to look like.

"We started that process at the start of pre-season and we're getting close to a decision."