ALBURY forward Jeff Garlett has signed a permit to play with Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong.
The Lions lodged the COVID permit on Friday, just hours before the transfer deadline.
Garlett sat out Saturday's one-point loss to Wagga Tigers and it is still unclear whether he will play any part in the club's AFL Riverina Championship campaign.
The cancellation of the Ovens and Murray season led to Garlett attracting a lot of interest from AFL Riverina clubs and Friday's decision to allow Albury-based footballers to play paved the way for the Lions to add him to their list.
Ganmain president Jason Hamblin insists Garlett is 'coverage' for any injuries.
"Jeffy is coverage. I don't know whether he'll play," Hamblin said.
"For the wellbeing of our players, we still don't think it's right for Albury players to come forward but if that relaxes a little bit more and we're comfortable within our community that these players can come in, yes he will be amazing coverage for the players we've got on hand at the moment.
"Even if he just comes here, when we feel comfortable, and he doesn't play, he'll be a great mentor for the group and the juniors."
Ganmain product and Melbourne football operations manager Daniel McPherson was the link to Garlett at the Lions.
His inclusion at Ganmain is not straight forward given he will be a six-point player under the AFL's Player Points System.
The Lions have also made it clear that they will not bring in anyone for the unique shortened season with a focus on looking after players who will be at the club long term.
"It's a backstop to any injuries in the latter part of the season," Hamblin said of Garlett.
"At the moment, he's a not a priority player.
"At the end of the day, when we were picking up these players there was non negotiables and they were that the only players we want to pick up is our old locals and players we've talked to before.
"I want to come out of COVID with still a strong team next year. I don't want to upset all the locals and not let them get a game."
The exciting Garlett was delisted by Melbourne at the end of last season after 185 AFL games and signed with Albury Tigers for the 2020 season.