PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley vehemently denies sweeping changes are needed at Alberton for the club to return to the heights of 2013 and 2014.

The Power have proven themselves just behind top-eight pace this season, pushing many good sides but finishing "on the wrong side of the small margins" during games against the League's best.

Port was narrowly beaten by Greater Western Sydney last weekend despite taking a significant lead into half-time and sits 10th on the ladder as it prepares to take on the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.

Speaking before the team flew north on Friday afternoon, Hinkley insisted his faith in his playing squad remained, and pointed to a host of emerging players as reason for his optimism.

Match preview: Brisbane Lions v Port Adelaide

"We believe in the group that we've got [but] there will always be change ... whether you win the premiership or finish bottom, you've always got to make changes," Hinkley said.

"All those list management issues really don't get cleared up until end of September.

"We've played some good footy against Hawthorn, good footy against GWS, good footy against Geelong, good footy against [Western] Bulldogs, West Coast, North Melbourne.

"Overall I think we've learned every time that when we've played those sides we've got to look for improvement still.

"What we've shown with some of our inexperienced players that they actually have some really good opportunities in front of them to put their case forward to be full-time AFL players. 

"We've got [Darcy] Byrne-Jones, we've got [Logan] Austin, we've got [Tom] Clurey getting better, we've seen [Jarman] Impey get better again and Karl Amon's gotten better - so there's a lot of positives…to come out of the disappointment we're faced with so far."

Hinkley wouldn't weigh in on whether the inevitable change would mean the end of Jay Schulz's career, although the out-of-contract veteran has been rested this week with the coach admitting the full forward is unable to compete at the level he'd like.

John Butcher will instead be offered the chance of spearheading Port's attack at the GABBA.

While singling out a number of young, developing players as 2016 success stories, another positive from the season is the more experienced Paul Stewart, who will play his 100th senior game on Saturday.

Hinkley said the defender was playing at a level he hadn't seen in his four seasons at the club and heaped significant praise on the popular 29-year-old clubman.

"He's been fantastic this year, Stewy, we had good conversations at the start of the year and he would be the first to say that he's surprised he's got to 100 [games] this year," he said. 

"It's great credit to him.

"What he's actually done is embrace whatever he can do to help younger people get better and at the same time his own form's been at the best it's been at my time at the club.

"He should be really proud of what he's achieved."