While England’s rugby team may have been knocked out of the world cup by Australia, a group of student nurses has just become European champions at Australian rules football.
Three student nurses from King’s College London are celebrating after their Australian rules football England squad triumphed in Croatia.
Lucy Cook, Jen Bennett and Jo Riseley are studying a postgraduate diploma in adult nursing at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery.
They are also part of the England Vixens team, the AFL England Women’s national side with representatives from across the country.
Due to graduate next summer, the three only took up the sport after moving to London last year for their course.
“I never expected I would be selected for the England team. It has been a great experience”
Twelve men’s teams and six women’s teams battled it out in a nine-a-side tournament to take the title of 2015 Axios AFL Europe Euro Cup Champions on 10 October.
The tournament saw the England Vixens team go comfortably through the group stage with strong wins against Sweden and France, before going up against host nation Croatia in the semi-finals.
They won the match by a colossal 88 points to 0, progressing to the final against Denmark’s Valkyries. They started the final strong and won the game by 54 points to six.
Ms Cook said: “I took up AFL in London to exercise and de-stress after long days on the wards. I never expected I would be selected for the England team. It has been a great experience.”
Lousie Barriball, interim dean for education at the faculty, said the win was a “tremendous achievement”, especially given that the students have to “manage lots of demands on their time”.
Commenting on his team’s winning run, England Vixens head coach Ian Baxter said: “They gave everything I asked of them and then some more.
“To become European Champions is one thing but to do it in such style is another. The best thing about this group is that they are nowhere near their potential,” he added.