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Gozo rugby league player Clifford Debattista has been named the Ray Morris Medal winner for Maltese Rugby League Player of the Year in London tonight.
The Malta vice-captain was announced as the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) convened for its annual awards while the international player of the year was also announced.
Speaking from his native island of Gozo, 25-year-old Debattista said the award was a great surprise for the player in only his third year of rugby.
"Rugby league has given me a lot over the past two years and this adds further testament to that" said Debattista.
"I never expected this award, and taking into consideration the standard of players we have representing the national team that include the best rugby players in Malta as well as players from abroad including Super League, then to be considered for this award is an achievement in itself"
Former medal winner and national team captain Chris Parker said Maltese based players have a player that sets the standards and that they too should aspire for no less.
"Clifford is a prime example of what rugby league can do for a player. Clifford came to rugby league as an inexperienced rugby player. Less than 24 months later, Clifford has off the field become a Level 2 coach, started his own club on Gozo, and on the field developed into a strong national team player" said the Gateshead Thunder prop.
He's a player that other Malta based players can look to and take inspiration from. He has shown a lot of commitment and dedication to get to where he is now"