ALBURY recruit Jeff Garlett has slipped seamlessly into life on the Border amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The former Carlton and Melbourne excitement machine has been living in Albury for almost three months since playing a practice match for the Tigers at Shepparton.
"I've stayed under the radar a bit which I like to do," the 30-year-old said with a smile.
"I wanted to get out of Melbourne and head up to Albury as, being from a small town in Western Australia, it suits me.
"I've just been going up a massive hill here walking and going on hikes and you can listen to the sound of nature and relax.
"When I go to Western Australia I always go back to the bush.
"That's how I turn off and relax.
"I'm just chilling at the moment."
While Garlett is enjoying the anonymity, he wishes he had been able to make his debut in the Ovens and Murray a month ago.
The lightning forward has been training by himself to ensure he maintains the fitness he built while playing for Northern Territory club Southern Districts over the summer.
Garlett, who played 185 AFL matches after being picked up in the 2009 rookie draft, credits former Melbourne teammate and Albury premiership star Daniel Cross for him finding his way to the sportsground.
The pair hope to reunite this year if Cross is free of his commitments as the Demons' rehab coordinator.
"I think it was 'Crossy' who first mentioned to me about playing at Albury," Garlett said.
"He's a terrific bloke and I was lucky enough to play with him at Melbourne.
"We created a stronger bond when he joined the rehab area.
"He helped me massively in the off-season as we did a lot of running together.
"He's a fitness freak and I was just hanging on trying to keep up with him."
Garlett said Cross regularly updated the Melbourne players on his performances for Albury over the past few years.
"You always used to hear stories about how he had 30 disposals or kicked three goals," Garlett joked.
Garlett has several other ties with Albury with the goalsneak spending time with former Albury junior Charlie Spargo at Melbourne.
He has also noticed his former Carlton teammate Setanta O'hAilpin's name in the changerooms.
"I saw he kicked 114 goals or something up here," he said.
Garlett, Eddie Betts and Chris Yarran were referred to as "Setanta's little helpers" after the foursome formed a lethal attack for the Blues in 2010.
One of the biggest regrets Garlett has had since arriving on the Border is the fact he hasn't played able to play on the sportsground.
"The ground is amazing," he said.
"It sort of reminds me of Subiaco Oval.
"It's awesome which is good for Melbourne Storm at the moment.
"Even when it rained the other week the surface held up well.
"The club has done an amazing job."
The West Australian has signed a two-year contract with Albury.