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Taylor fined but one step closer to NRL

NZN 23/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Dave Taylor is one step closer to returning to the NRL after escaping a conviction or community service order for his role in the Gold Coast drug controversy.

Taylor faced Southport District Court on Wednesday, having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a dangerous drug, namely cocaine, in 2014.

He was fined $1000, but left free to continue his train-and-trial arrangement with Canberra without regularly having to return to Queensland to fulfil a community service requirement.

Such a punishment was included during sentencing of his co-accused and former Titans players Jamie Dowling and Joe Vickery, but Judge Katherine McGuiness felt it important not to interfere with his attempted return to the sport.

"I think it's important you keep your rehabilitation up by continuing with your career," she said on Wednesday as she handed down the sentence.

The NRL will not consider whether he was again "a fit and proper person" until a playing deal is lodged with the governing body.

Taylor only began training with the Raiders' main squad on Monday and AAP understands his contract could be submitted at two points - before Christmas, or after their February trial match with Newcastle - but only if he impresses coach Ricky Stuart.

While his non-conviction can assist if he wants to travel overseas to play again, it's understood the NRL would be more interested in the rehabilitation he has undergone since the incident when considering any possible contract.

It's also understood the NRL would be more interested in what Taylor has done since the incident, rather than the non-conviction, when they consider his contract.

Taylor's lawyer Campbell MacCallum told the court his client had undergone five two-hour education and prevention program sessions since his arrest, and had also been doing charity work on weekends in Canberra.

However he recognised the NRL would be watching the case closely and there was still a lot to be done before Taylor could play in the code again.

"The NRL integrity unit will still be in discussions with him to decide if he will still be registered as a player," MacCallum said.

"He certainly will be required to undertake further community work with the NRL and he will have to face a long wait as to whether they will register him for the 2017 season."

MacCallum also indicated the 180-game NRL star wanted to add to his eight Origins for Queensland and one Test appearance by returning to his wrecking-ball best.

"He does have aspirations to not only play further State of Origin games but also represent his country again one day," MacCallum said.

Taylor has played for Brisbane, South Sydney and the Titans since his debut in 2006, before moving to French-based Super League club Catalans at the end of last year.

Outside the court, he said he wanted to take his chance at the Raiders.

"I'm looking to move on and leave everything behind me and hopefully do good for Canberra," Taylor said.

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