The playing season started with a scratch match between sides chosen by Harrison and James Byrne on Saturday 30 April. After Harrison kicked the first goal of the game it was called off due to heavy rain. The club's Annual General Meeting was held in the MCC pavilion after the match.
Further scratch matches was played over the next two Saturday afternoons before the main program of matches began. For the first time teams were playing for a championship, with the South Yarra club donating a 'Challenge Cup' for teams to contest. Any side who defended the cup four times would win it permanently.
The only four sides senior enough to play for the cup were Melbourne, Carlton, Albert Park and South Yarra. Before the season proper began Melbourne and Carlton joined together on Saturday May 23, to form a "North" team to play a combined Albert Park/South Yarra "South" side.
Harrison and Byrne were reappointed to their leadership positions at the AGM, with W. Foreman appointed as match and ground committee. The club set Tuesday and Thursday as days for practice.
For the first time games were played in two 50 minute halves and teams no longer had to wait for somebody to score before they changed ends - though the two captains could apply variations to the rules by agreement.
Melbourne played 12 matches for seven wins and five draws. They scored 21 goals and only conceded one. On unofficial ladders it put them ahead of Albert Park and Carlton, but with Albert Park having taken South Yarra's cup in the first match of the season they held on to it through two draws with Melbourne - even if they won the first game on the day but it was later considered as a draw because they had kicked their goal with too many players on the field.
On 3 September Albert Park were set to defend the cup against Melbourne. They believed that they had already won the requisite four games to claim the cup permanently. Newspapers, and the owners of the cup themselves the South Yarra club refused to accept their claim as one of the matches had been a walkover when the Hobson's Bay Railway Company couldn't field a team. Albert Park refused to make their defence.
The match was rescheduled for three weeks later but Albert Park couldn't field a side and Carlton stepped in. This means Melbourne are generally held to be the 'premiers' of 1870, even though Albert Park at one point considered handing the cup back to South Yarra. The Reds only conceded one goal for the season.
The season ended with two more intra-club scratch matched on Saturday 1 October (teams chosen by Loughnan and Byrne) and Saturday 8 October.
In addition to the Albert Park games a number of other matches throughout the year were cancelled:
- Saturday 6 August vs South Yarra (due to heavy rain)
- Saturday 23 July vs Geelong (Geelong unable to field a side)
- Saturday 13 August - "First 15 vs All Comers" (Not enough players, intra-club instead)
- Saturday 10 September vs Geelong (Heavy rain)
|Hobsons Bay Railway
|Hobsons Bay Railway
W. Barker, Larry Bell, John Bennie, F. Bruford, James Byrne, Charles Carr, JA Clarke, Tom Colles, D. Duff, W. Finlay, Fisher, Charles Forrester, J. Forrester, William Freeman, W. Gaggin, Ben Goldsmith, Ernest Harrison, Henry Harrison, Henderson, Tom Hepburn, P. Hodgkinson, R. Hope, Tom Hope, Charles Ireland, L. Lewin, A. Loughnan, AR Loughnan McLennan, Morrell, W. Perraton, William Riggall, H. Ryan, Serrell, P. Sullivan, Stewart, James Stodart, W. Thomas, Edwin Towle, Treacy, O. Williams
"Melbourne Football Club" - The Australasian 30/04/1870
The Argus - 02/05/1870
The Age - 02/05/1870
The Argus - 07/05/1870
The Argus - 10/05/1870
The Argus - 28/05/1870
The Argus - 08/08/1870
The Australasian - 13/08/1870
The Argus - 15/08/1870
The Argus - 03/09/1870
The Argus - 24/09/1870
The Argus - 10/10/1870
The Age - 08/05/1871
"Origins of Australian Football: Volume 1" by Mark Pennings
Some sources say the 10 September match against Geelong was cancelled due to Melbourne being unable to field a team.