Newcastle Knights centre Tautau Moga has pleaded guilty to assaulting a taxi driver on Boxing Day last year.
The 25-year-old escaped conviction and was placed on a six-month conditional release order for slapping a taxi driver outside a licenced premises in King Street following a day at the races.
Police facts tendered to the court show Moga was in the company of another man when he was refused entry to the King Street Hotel at about 10pm.
The pair then got into the rear seat of a cab outside the hotel and gave the driver an address they wished to be taken to.
Moga then leaned forward and slapped the driver on the left cheek saying: "Are you dumb?"
The driver responded: "What's happening brother?"
Moga then slapped the driver on the right cheek saying: "Are you dumb?"
The driver stopped the cab and requested assistance from the hotel's security staff.
Police found Moga and his companion a short time later at King Street McDonalds.
Moga's companion complied with a request to produce his licence, however Moga produced a Visa card and gave an incorrect date of birth. He refused to provide further details and became hostile towards police.
Moga was arrested and taken to Newcastle Police station.
Newcastle Local Court heard that Moga had not consumed alcohol for three months prior to the offence and had not had a drink since.
He had contacted the taxi driver to apologise for his actions and to check on the driver's welfare since the incident.
"It is something that he deeply regrets and doesn't want this matter to define him," Moga's lawyer Mark Evans told the court.
Three references were tendered to the court testifying to Moga's good character.
The court heard Moga was studying to be a youth worker with his church and sought to be seen as role model among young people.
Magistrate Sharon Crews said while she accepted the assault fell within the lower range of assault matters, the taxi driver was a vulnerable victim.
"When people have too much to drink they sometimes do stupid things, as you did," she said.
In dismissing the charge, Magistrate Crews said she accepted Moga's remorse was genuine.
"You want to be a role model, this is not the way to go about it," she said.
Moga also faces the prospect of a significant fine from the Newcastle Knights as part of the club's new behaviour policy.