Warriors player Kevin Locke is skating on "very thin ice" with the club, due to his numerous driving convictions, a court has been told.
Locke was sentenced today in Auckland District Court to 80 hours' community work for a third driving offence.
He was also fined $1400.
The 23-year-old earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while disqualified, arising from being stopped by police while driving in Ponsonby in May.
Locke's lawyer Sumudu Thode told the court Locke's career would be in jeopardy should he be further disqualified from driving, and therefore he sought a community-based sentence instead.
"His position with the club is going to be compromised and Mr Locke is very aware that he is skating on very thin ice in respect of these charges."
The court was read extracts from a letter from Warriors' management which said Locke could lose his NRL playing contract should he be disqualified again.
It would not be feasible for the club to continue to make excuses for Locke's inability to fulfil his contractual duties, it said.
Ms Thode further submitted that it would be detrimental to Locke's mental health.
Police accepted that the conviction would also impact on his partner and their unborn child.
Judge Ann-Marie Skellern found that Locke was eligible for a community-based sentence.
"I accept that previous disqualification has not had the desired effect," she said.
She also took into account the "very real likelihood" of his loss of employment and the effects of disqualification on his pregnant partner.
She also accepted that he was going through a "difficult depressive episode" at the time of his offending.
In January he pleaded guilty to two counts of driving while disqualified and was fined a total of $900 and banned from driving for a year.
The maximum penalty for driving while disqualified on a third or subsequent occasion is two years imprisonment or a fine of up to $6000, as well as being disqualified from driving for a further year.
Locke was first banned from driving in December, 2010, and the following month he was pulled over driving south of Whangarei.
He told the police he did not know he was a suspended driver, for which he was charged with giving false details to police, but that was withdrawn.
Just over a month later he was again caught driving while suspended.
- APNZBy Matthew Theunissen Email Matthew