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Moga to face disciplinary board, hefty fine after taxi driver assault

Knights centre Tautau Moga will front a club disciplinary committee in the next fortnight with the possibility of one of rugby league's heaviest individual fines being meted out after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a taxi driver on Boxing Day.

Moga was in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday where he escaped having a conviction recorded for slapping a taxi driver twice after a day at Newcastle races last December.

The 25-year-old was placed on a six-month conditional release order, with the magistrate accepting Moga's crime fell within the lower range of assault and that he had expressed remorse for his actions to the victim afterwards.

Newcastle released a brief statement confirming Moga's case had concluded later in the day.

Moga will now be summoned before the club's disciplinary committee as per NRL protocol, where he is expected to face a fine of up to $90,000 under the Knights' hard-line stance on player misbehaviour.

The committee set a precedent in fining Jacob Saifiti 25% of his salary, approximately $50,000 with half of that amount suspended, over an off-field incident in December last year.

Saifiti was not charged by police over an incident in which he was knocked out and suffered a broken leg outside a Newcastle nightspot.

CEO Phil Gardner, who sits as a member of the club's disciplinary committee, has previously described the 25% fines regarding any proven off-field incident as "across the board" for everyone.

Moga's current deal with the Knights is believed to be worth between $350,000 to $380,000 a season.

Fining him a quarter of his salary would equate to between $87,000 and $95,000.

Such a figure would be among the largest dished out to a player, with teammate Mitchell Pearce's $125,000 fine (with $50,000 suspended) for his 2016 Australia Day video controversy when he was at the Roosters the heaviest financial penalty on record in the NRL.

Newcastle may also choose to suspend Moga from playing duties, though that avenue is considered unlikely given he is still working his way back from fourth knee injury via Canterbury Cup.

Moga returned to the paddock last week for the first time since last April, playing 35 minutes in a round-one win over Newtown.

He has been named at centre again this week in reserve grade having played four games for the Knights after arriving as a high-profile signing from Brisbane.