Rhodes got his 17th and 18th league goals for Rovers with an expert strike in each half and Appleton was delighted the hitman's double was enough to earn his first league win as Rovers boss.
"That's what he does. The first one sums him up in terms of how clinical he was. First touch with his right foot and to be as clinical as he was with his so-called weaker foot," Appleton said.
"With the second one, we've spoken about it a lot in the week. On the regain when we won the ball back we knew had to stretch Bristol as much as we possibly could and it worked.
"Jordan showed great persistence and strength and when he got an opportunity to get a strike at goal, I didn't think there'd be any other conclusion."
Appleton was also pleased with the defensive display as they kept their second consecutive clean sheet.
He said: "I don't want to keep harping on about it but I say to the players every week how important it is to keep clean sheets.
"If you do, you certainly can't lose a game of football and when you've got people like Kazim-Richards and Rhodes, you've got a good opportunity to try and get goals, so we're delighted at the minute."