Canberra Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh had 10 or 11 alcoholic drinks with friends and teammates before getting behind the wheel and being busted over the legal limit early on Christmas morning.
The 23-year-old rising NRL star was on Tuesday convicted, fined and disqualified from driving over the incident, telling reporters as he left the ACT Magistrates Court that "what I did was wrong".
But his pain may only just be beginning, with the court hearing he was likely to face steep fines from the Raiders and the NRL Integrity Unit now that his legal matter had been finalised.
Horsburgh, who also said he was disappointed to have let his club and family down, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a drink-driving charge stemming from the incident.
Prosecutor Kiara Sheridan told the court that police had pulled Horsburgh over in Evatt about 1.16am on Christmas Day after he failed to use his indicator while negotiating a roundabout.
Asked why he had not turned on the blinker, he told police: "I was just driving."
After tests indicated the presence of alcohol in Horsburgh's breath, officers placed the Queenslander under arrest and took him to Belconnen Police Station, where he returned a reading of 0.06.
Ms Sheridan said Horsburgh later told police he had been "drinking with mates" at Assembly in Braddon from about 3pm on Christmas Eve, consuming three or four beers and roughly seven vodkas.
She said the 23-year-old had been "cooperative and polite" with officers.
Horsburgh's lawyer Haydn Marsh initially told the court he would apply for a non-conviction order, but he scrapped those plans when Magistrate Peter Morrison indicated the matter would need to be adjourned.
Pushing on in light of his client's wish to have the case finalised on the spot, Mr Marsh said Horsburgh had been enjoying festivities with friends and teammates prior to the incident.
He said Horsburgh had stopped drinking about an hour before getting behind the wheel to drive a friend to Gungahlin.
The 23-year-old knew that he had been "foolish", Mr Marsh said, and there was no doubt he had "exercised very poor judgment".
Mr Marsh told the court that Horsburgh had never previously been charged with any offence, and that he accepted he was a role model for young men because of his status as a professional sportsman.
The court heard that since being charged, Horsburgh had addressed the Raiders' under-18s and under-21s squads.
"He's used his position and experience in an effort to prevent other young men making the mistake he did," Mr Marsh said
Mr Marsh said that privileged position had also worked against Horsburgh in terms of his offending, with the middle forward having been "publicly reprimanded by his coach" and stood down from the Raiders' round one match.
He said that on top of the punishment imposed by the court, Horsburgh would also likely continue to face significant "disciplinary action" within rugby league.
Mr Marsh described Horsburgh as "deeply remorseful" and told the court "he won't be putting himself in a position where he's drinking and driving again".
In sentencing, Mr Morrison said it was "particularly unfortunate" that a role model had committed a crime, but he accepted that Horsburgh was "otherwise a person of good character".
Taking into account the 23-year-old's remorse and early guilty plea, he imposed a criminal conviction, $500 fine and three-month driver's licence disqualification.
Outside court, Horsburgh told reporters: "What I did was wrong. I'm disappointed I let the club down, and my family. [It was] not the right decision. I'm just glad it's all done and just looking forward to playing some football now."
Fellow Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera is due to front court next month, having also been charged with drink-driving during the off-season.