Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lost his footing and tackled a child while playing in a kids’ soccer match on the campaign trail Wednesday.
During a visit to the Devonport Strikers soccer club in Tasmania to promote his commitment to a multimillion-dollar upgrade to the club’s facilities, Morrison joined an under-8s game as TV cameras looked on.
After showing off some awkward footwork with the kids, the prime minister appeared to lose his balance, toppling onto player Luca Fauvette and bringing the child to the ground.
Fortunately, Luca was uninjured and continued playing with a smile.
Australia’s federal election is days away, and the notoriously unpopular prime minister’s viral moment sparked plenty of ridicule on social media.
According to Australian media reports, Morrison joked about the incident afterward while addressing children and their parents in the club’s rooms.
“Where’s Luca? He’s probably gone off to hospital!” he quipped, adding that he looked forward to “coming back on another occasion.”
“I think that when that grandstand comes down, I hear it might need a bit of a bulldozer to knock it down, so I might be able to help with that,” Morrison said, referencing his self-appointed “bulldozer” nickname.
The club shared a lighthearted post about the incident on Facebook, writing: “Our club values are determination, effort and respect. We think Luca showed plenty of determination and effort to stop the PM scoring at all costs!”
Trailing in the polls, Morrison admitted last week that “I can be a bit of a bulldozer when it comes to issues” and suggested he would change “gears” if reelected.
The prime minister has attracted fierce criticism from Australians over the past two years over his handling of multiple crises, including when he traveled to Hawaii for a holiday during the 2019 bushfire disaster, his bungling of the nation’s initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout and a series of stunning missteps in dealing with rape and sexual assault allegations in Parliament.