Magpies' netball selection gamble pays off

Collingwood coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell will continue to put form ahead of reputation after the Magpies' team selection shake-up helped breathe life into their Super Netball campaign.

Facing the prospect of a fifth loss in six matches, the Magpies rung the changes by leaving national team regulars Sharni Layton and Kim Ravaillion out of the starting line-up for Sunday's clash with the Queensland Firebirds in Launceston.

Keppich-Birrell also granted 19-year-old Matilda Garrett her first Super Netball start, assigning her the daunting task of marking Firebirds shooter Romelda Aiken.

But the selection gamble paid off with Collingwood powering home to win 67-62, recording their second victory of the season and adding three valuable bonus points.

"We were 1-4 coming into this game so we really had to figure out what it was that we could add to the game," Keppich-Birrell said about starting Garrett in defence ahead of Layton.

"Matilda coming on and getting her first start in goal keeper was pretty exciting for her and she's worked so hard in the off-season, and also coming into this game, so she was rewarded for that."

With the defensive group disrupting the Firebird's attacking flow and Erin Bell dominating the goal circle, the Magpies held sway for most of the game.

But a seven-goal lead disappeared in the third quarter with Aiken making her presence felt under the post.

With the Firebirds surging, Collingwood switched Layton into the game late in the third quarter and her energy, along with key defensive plays from Ash Brazill and April Brandley, helped the Magpies secure victory with a 17-12 fourth-quarter run.

"We didn't go in with a plan about how people are going to move on and off the court," Keppich-Birrell said about the timing of Layton's introduction to the game.

"But we do plan that if the momentum was swinging at that point in the game that something needs to change.

"That's the point we picked that she could inject something there."

While the victory will give the star-studded franchise a confidence boost heading into the bye round, the Magpies face a major test after the bye with match-ups against the top three teams in consecutive weeks, starting with the Giants in Sydney on June 17.