NRL news | Penrith Panthers star Taylan May banned following assault charge, can play finals

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Rookie Penrith winger Taylan May will miss the opening two rounds of next year after being banned for an off-field incident – but will be free to play in the NRL finals.

The NRL on Tuesday handed down its punishment for May who was found guilty of assault last week after he was charged for an incident on the Sunshine Coast.

The assault took place during last year’s premiership celebrations, with CCTV cameras capturing May dragging an 18-year-old to the ground.

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May had been triggered by the teenager filming his superstar teammate Nathan Cleary.

The magistrate described May’s act as “cowardly”, finding him guilty of assault occasioning bodily harm.

Yet, in handing down its own penalty, the NRL decided not to suspend May from the finals series, instead holding the ban over until the start of next season.

“In proposing the timing of the match suspension, the NRL considered a number of factors including when the incident took place, the date at which the proceedings were finalised and the impact of a match suspension at this time of year,” the NRL said in a statement.

“It is proposed the fine and education requirements be effective immediately.”

May has five business days to respond to the breach notice.

The speedster, brother of former Panthers utility Tyrone May, has been superb for the minor premiers in his first full season of first grade.

He has built a lethal combination with young centre Izack Tago on the left flank and would have been a significant loss for the side had he been suspended during the playoffs.

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