President - FTW Ford
Vice-Presidents: James Byrne, Grey, Henry Harrison, Charles Forrester
Secretary - Charles Jenvey
Captain - Bob Sillett
Vice Captain - Sam Lamrock
Treasurer - Longden
Second 20 secretary - JJ Graham
Leading goalkicker - John MacDonald - 7
South Melbourne were elevated to senior status in the VFA, and Melbourne were allowed back onto the MCG permanently for the first time since 1872. The MCC had discovered a rich source of income from renting the ground out and had offered four clubs (including Geelong, Hotham and Carlton) the chance to play games on their ground. Melbourne were granted 12 matches and concessions for their members to enter the grandstand.
The club started the year with a credit balance of 78p 3s 4d. Messrs Anthony and Baker were also on the club committee. The secretary of the second 20 was JJ Graham and captain was George Burston. They recruited heavily to try and go one step better than their second place in 1878.
Country tour matches were played in Ballarat, Kilmore and Maryborough. On Saturday 30 August past players of Melbourne and Carlton played on the Melbourne Ground. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
A proposed game against South Melbourne on 19 July fell through after a dispute over whose ground the game would be played at.
The last game of the season, against Carlton on September 27 at Prince's Oval was abandoned when Carlton protested that the Reds were planning to play Jack Sandilands of Geelong in their side. He had been given a clearance for residential reasons, but Carlton refused to believe he was going to be living in Melbourne. Melbourne countered by protesting against two Carlton players, but offered to let one of the disputed players if Sandilands could. Carlton declined and the game was abandoned - leaving a crowd of 10,000 without a game. Sandilands never played a game for the club, joining South Melbourne in 1880.
Geelong were premiers. Carlton, South Melbourne and Hotham followed. Melbourne played 20 matches, won 11, lost six and drew three.
In The Australasian newspaper E. Longden and Murdoch McKenzie were named amongst the best followers, Harry Downes the backs, Will Sandilands the best wings and Frank Crohan the top forwards.
The club ended the season with a credit balance of 211 pounds.
|17 May||South Melbourne||WIN|
|14 June||Albert Park||LOSS|
|6 September||West Melbourne||WIN|
|13 September||Albert Park||LOSS|
|3 May||Public Schools||WIN|
|19 July||East Melbourne||WIN|
|16 August||MFC Past Players||DRAW|
|25 September||North Eastern District||WIN|
Dave Aitken, Hugh Anthony, Charles Baker, Fred Baker, James Bennie, Joseph Birtwistle, John Booth, W. Boys, C. Cock, J. Cook, W. Cook, Frank Crohan, Harry Downes, T. Fairbairn, Flynn, W. Gilchrist, D. Harrison, F. Haymes, George Houston, C. Jenvey, S. Lamrock, T. Lempriere, E. Longden, W. Longden, J. Lucas, W. Mathieson, John Macdonald, Murdoch McKenzie, A. McKie, Jim McKie, Robert Murray, Utar Nicholas, H. Oakley, Frank Power, G. Rylah, Will Sandilands, C. Sherrard, Bob Sillett, Bob Simson, E. Smart, Snowden, C. Swanson, C. Swyer, H. Upton, Frank Waldron
John Macdonald 11, T. Lempriere 8, J. Cook 6, Murdoch McKenzie 5, Frank Crohan 4, Bob Sillett 4, John Booth 1, D. Harrison 1, W. Longden 1, J. Lucas 1, R. Murray 1, H. Oakley 1, C. Sherrard 1, C. Swanson 1, Frank Waldron 1
Captain - George Burston
|3 May||East St Kilda||DRAW||0-0|
|17 May||St Kilda||WIN||2-0|
|19 July||Albert Park||WIN||3-0|
|6 September||East St Kilda||LOSS||0-3|
|13 September||St Kilda/East St Kilda||WIN||3-2|
|20 September||Essendon||LOSS 1-2|
Charles Power, Lempriere, Simpson, Swyer, McDonald, Will Sandilands, McKenzie, Longden, Bob Sillett, Lamrock, Bennie, Oakley, McKie, John Booth, Downes, Boys, Murray, Frank Crohan, Fred Baker, Charles Baker
Some sources say that Melbourne only protested against one player in the September 27 game against Carlton, but that the Blues threatened to play a Geelong player if Melbourne didn't withdraw Sandilands.
The 6 September Second 20 opponent may have been St Kilda Park United. The 20 September game result was disputed.
Age 10/06/1996 suggests a Melbourne/Essendon game ended in a 2-2 draw because of light failure. Contemporary reports don't mention the June game against Essendon being played at night.
Sydney Mail - 10/05/1879
Australasian - 12/10/1879
Weekly Times - 26/07/1879
Argus - 18/08/1879
Argus - 01/09/1879
Age - 01/09/1879
Argus - 29/09/1879
Australasian - 04/10/1879
Age - 10/04/1880
Blueseum 1879 page
VFA results and ladders page
YarraYarraBand.com - Second 20 (dead link)
Team image courtesy Boyles Football Photos and State Library Victoria.