Two-year-old Pippa Biggs wandered onto the pitch of the brutal contact sport – something between rugby league and a violent post-pub kickabout – during a match between Australian sides St Bernard’s Football Club and Old Melburnians at the weekend.
She could easily have been crushed by one of the burly players but luckily Alex McLeod, from St Bernard’s, spotted her just as the ball flew into the air a few yards away.
Victorian Amateur Football Association shared a video of the moment Alex scooped Pippa up and ran her to the safety of the sidelines.
They wrote: “A scary moment at the Snake Pit yesterday when a toddler ran onto the ground before fast-thinking St Bernard’s star Alex McLeod came to the rescue.
“’We can report the little girl left the game safe and sound as she looks forward to donning the Snow Dogs women’s jumper in about 15 years.”
“He had the opportunity to go for the ball but he went for the girl in the red jacket”
Alex told foxfooty.com.au that he thought someone on the boundary would pick Pippa up at first, but then she wandered into the thick of the action.
“Being the closest on the field I thought it was best to pick her up and get her out of harm’s way, the ball actually bounced towards her so there were a fair few players in the area,’ he said.
Pippa’s dad David Biggs told the Herald Sun that she was playing with some other children quite near to him, and then he realised she was on the pitch.
“She is very active, she’s a bit of a cheeky one,“ he said.
“Before I knew it there was a little girl in a red jacket running around and I thought it was the [football].”
Mr Biggs said he had been keeping an eye on Pippa, who had been playing with other children nearby, before she bolted on to the field.
He praised Mr McLeod for saving Pippa and returning her to the sideline.
“He had the opportunity to go for the ball but he went for the girl in the red jacket,” Mr Biggs said.