GANMAIN-Grong Grong-Matong insists Zac Brain hasn't been recruited to bolster their unbeaten first grade squad this year, confirming the midfielder approached the club to simply train with them as he eyes a eventual potential return from concussion.
Brain, renowned for his courage, was forced into retirement after one too many head knocks when at Wodonga midway through last season.
He has trained with the Lions in the past and approached the club about the possibility to do so again. As a result a clearance has been lodged to officially make him a Lion for the remainder of the season.
However, Brain has made it clear he only intends to train and play a couple of reserve grade games, and see how his health holds up before potentially investigating a return to senior football in 2023.
Lions president Jason Hamblin said Brain would be a more viable senior recruiting option next year if he progresses well, but said he isn't there to bolster a first grade side unbeaten through eight games.
Former Barooga coach Brain played for Wagga Tigers during the COVID-affected 2020 season, and has also featured for Northern Territory side Nightcliff.
"With concussions he's moving out of Ovens and Murray and will train with us, that's all he's doing," Hamblin said.
"We haven't got him here to play first grade, he just wants a local club to train with, he's trained with us before and he's got mates here.
"When playing at Wodonga Bulldogs he was doing a bit of training with us, and he might play the odd second grade game."
Hamblin said when Brain feels ready to play will be left completely in his hands, and the club is well placed to support him in his return from concussion.
"I think he knows within himself he's going to have six months off (senior football)," Hamblin said.
"He's at a stage where concussion is a real issue for him, and he just wants somewhere to train and be a part of a club. He said if he plays a couple of second grade games here or there, that's all he wants to do.
"He doesn't want to give away football, he just needs six months off. With Zane Fraser (Lions trainer and Riverina and Farrer Trainers Association president) at our club, he's comfortable we've got the people to manage him if he does play football."
Hamblin said Brain's playing and coaching experience at top level leagues will make him a handy sounding board off the field.
"We'd be silly not to let someone with his experience come into the club, be a mentor for young blokes and learn a bit from his time at strong leagues," Hamblin said.
"If Zac comes and just wants to train at a high standard, people learn from that."
The Lions resume from two weekends off against Wagga Tigers at Robertson Oval on Saturday.
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