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In sport, a man of the match or player of the game or man of the series award is given to the outstanding player, almost always the one who makes the most impact, in a particular match or series. This can be a player from either team, usually the winning team. In professional sport the award itself may involve cash, a trophy, or a celebratory magnum of champagne, but in amateur sports, especially collegiate sports in the United Statesmarker, such material prizes are often forbidden and the award is purely honorary.

Some sports have unique traditions regarding these sorts of awards, and they are especially sought after in championship or all-star matches. In some sports organisations and leagues, particularly in the United States, the term "Most Valuable Player" (MVP) is used for some of these awards. In ice hockey, three players of the game instead of only one, called the "three stars", are recognised.


In cricket, the Man of the Match award may be given to the highest scoring batsman, leading wicket taker or best overall performance. The award typically--though not universally--goes to a player on the winning team. Occasionally, the award will be made for outstanding fielding (including wicket keeping) or captaincy. In the modern game the awards carry substantial monetary prizes which are provided by the tournament sponsors or the local cricket governing bodies.

Association football

In football, the award typically goes to a player on the winning side. Players who score a brace or a hat trick, or goalkeepers who keep a clean sheet under resounding pressure often get the award. Hat trick scorers usually receive the match ball whether or not they are officially named man of the match. However, not all tournaments/leagues have an official man of the match award, so sometimes accolades are given by websites/newspapers instead.

Australian rules football

In Australian rules football, the player of the game is often referred to as having been the "best on ground" (or "BOG"). Media outlets provide immediate, unofficial recognition that is largely honorary, often on a 5-4-3-2-1 or 3-2-1 voting basis. Officially, the AFL recognises the player of the game as being the player awarded the maximum three votes by umpires in the Brownlow Medal count at season's end. Exceptions are made during the season for certain reserved games such as the The ANZAC Day clash, Western Derby, and Showdown, where medallions are officially rewarded in presentations following the conclusion of the match.

Rugby league and rugby union

In both codes of rugby, rugby league and rugby union, the player who wins the award is usually the person who has performed consistently well throughout the game. In televised or sponsored matches, the commentator or company sponsoring the event usually decides who gets the award, and it is presented to the winner after the match. Man of the match is a bigger award in rugby than most other sports, because forwards and other players who rarely score points will often win it.

United States college basketball and football

In college basketball and college football, the two collegiate sports with the most television coverage in the United States, a top player from each team is usually honored as "players of the game." These athletes usually cannot collect material prizes due to NCAA regulations. Instead, television companies broadcasting the game or corporate sponsors will often make donations to the scholarship funds of each school in the names of the winning players.


In ice hockey, the three players who perform best in the game, often those who accumulate the most points, are usually designated the Three stars of the game: the top-performing player is the first star, and so on. This tradition originated in the 1930s as a promotion for a "Three Star" brand of gasoline[82104].

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