After almost a decade of play the system of teams having to score two goals to win was abandoned in favour of victory going to the team leading at the end of two 50 minute halves. The idea wasn't initially embraced by some clubs, but it did reduce the number of draws during the season. Many matches were still played with teams changing ends after a goal.
Other than the change to the way matches were decided Melbourne came out strongly against any other rule changes, and the game itself was generally played as it had been in 1868. Before the season representatives from Melbourne, Carlton, Albert Park (formerly Emerald Hill), South Yarra and Hobson's Bay Railway gathered to draw up an official fixture list which was then published in the newspapers.
The first scratch match of the season was played on Saturday 8 May between teams chosen by Harrison and Byrne, with another intra-club game the following two Saturdays.
The games against 14th Regiment on 10 July was rescheduled to the end of the season. Matches on 24 July against Civil Service and 14 August against the Police were both cancelled.
Melbourne won 7, lost 1 and drew 6. Charles Carr was the leading goalkicker in MFC games with four. Despite their success they only had 23 paid up members.
The finish to the season was controversial when the third game of the season finished in a nil-all draw. Carlton claimed that they were the best side in the colony because they'd scored more goals over the three games. A fourth match was mooted in the press but never happened. In September captain Henry Harrison wrote to The Australasian claiming that each match should determine the champion rather than who scored the most goals for the season.
|5 June||14th Regiment||WIN|
|19 June||Albert Park||WIN|
|26 June||South Yarra||WIN|
|31 July||Albert Park||DRAW|
|7 August||South Yarra||DRAW|
|11 September||Albert Park||DRAW|
|18 September||South Yarra||DRAW|
|25 September||14th Regiment||WIN|
Dave Adamson, W. Barker, Charles Barrass, Larry Bell, John Bennie, Bertenshaw, F. Bruford, James Byrne, Charles Carr, Tom Colles, D. Duff, W. Finlay, Charles Forrester, J. Forrester, William Freeman, W. Gaggin, Ben Goldsmith, Bill Gorman, Ernest Harrison, Henry Harrison, Tom Hepburn, E. Hinton, R. Hope, Tom Hope, T. Leach, Austin Loughnan, C. McCracken, McLennan, Petrie, William Riggall, H. Ryan, Serrell, James Stodart, W. Thomas, Edwin Towle, Whitelaw, Wildman.
Some sources say the match against Victoria Police was played on the MCG itself and the damage done to the turf led to the football club being expelled back outside to Yarra Park. It is also suggested that a game against the Police was played on 19 May or 22 May. Scheduled games against the 14th Regiment (10 July), Civil Service (24 July) and Albert Park (31 July), were not played.
The Argus - 08/05/1869
The Argus - 15/05/1869
Leader - 29/05/1869
The Argus - 14/08/1869
The Australasian - 11/09/1869
The Argus - 02/05/1870
"Origins of Australian Football: Volume 1" by Mark Pennings
Blueseum 1869 page