Veteran North Queensland prop Scott Bolton must still await clearance from the NRL before he is free to play for the Cowboys in 2019 despite an assault charge against him reaching its conclusion in court on Monday.
The 31-year-old forward pleaded guilty in Sydney's Waverley Local Court on Monday to a charge of common assault in May last year, when he grabbed a woman on the upper thigh as she was moving away from him at the Bondi Beach Public Bar.
He received a 12-month good behaviour bond and no conviction was recorded.
But the NRL's Integrity Unit will review the full court documents before giving Bolton final clearance to play in either the Cowboys trial games or round one.
"The NRL will review the material tendered in court today before taking further action," an NRL spokesman said Monday.
Bolton himself released a statement late on Monday saying he was not proud of his behaviour.
"I am sorry my actions on that night have caused distress to so many people including the lady, my wife and family. I also want to apologise to the club including my teammates, members, partners and fans of the game I love," Bolton said.
"This has been a very difficult time for my wife and family and I appreciate that for the past few months the media have respected their privacy and I would please ask they continue to do so."
The incident took place on Saturday, May 5, 24 hours after the Cowboys had an upset 26-20 round nine win over the Panthers in Bathurst.
The team had returned to Sydney for a camp as they were playing the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval in round 10.
In August, Bolton pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault after a statement of facts given at an earlier hearing alleged the woman was touched on her genitals.
But the allegations have since been withdrawn and the charge was downgraded to assault.
Magistrate Greg Grogin told the court on Monday that in sentencing Bolton he acknowledged the footballer had been under intense public and media scrutiny during the past eight months.
"Mr Bolton put himself in the spotlight by committing an offence. The fact he is a rugby league player is of no consequence to the court or me," Grogin said.
But he found Bolton's behaviour was an "aberration" for him as he presented as a person of otherwise good character, and he had shown remorse.
A statement for the Cowboys said no other fines or sanctions had been placed on Bolton, and the player would make a statement himself "in due course".
"Both police and the complainant agreed to the fact sheet tendered to the court, which alleged a common assault and confirmed Scott's insistence that he never touched the complainant in an indecent way," the club said.
Bolton is about to enter his 13th NRL season with the Cowboys. He has played 228 first grade games, including 22 in the 2018 Telstra Premiership season.
In Monday night's statement he vowed to never put himself in such a situation again.
"I am not proud of the behaviour I displayed on the night and want to assure everyone I will not place myself in a similar position again," Bolton said.