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Taylor fined but one step closer to NRL

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/11/2016 Scott Bailey
Dave Taylor © AAP Dave Taylor

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 said last month he would have to prove he was "a fit and proper person" once a playing deal was lodged with the governing body.

Taylor only began training with the Raiders 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.

Taylor's lawyer Campbell MacCallum told the court his client wanted to return to somewhere near 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.

However, he first recognised Taylor would have to impress the NRL integrity unit, which he claimed was watching the outcome of his sentencing closely.

"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."

Taylor has played 180 NRL matches for Brisbane, South Sydney and the Titans, as well as eight Origins for Queensland and one Test for Australia.

He moved to French club Catalans at the end of last year.

Outside the court, he said he was aiming to put the past the scandal.

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

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