Saturday 28 May - Melbourne Ground
Crowd - 1500
18th Regiment 0
Melbourne win by 4 goals
Goalkickers: Bell 2, Thomas 1, Towle 1
The first match of the season saw Melbourne against a military regiment who had come from New Zealand with a reputation as expert players. It was said that a civilian team had challenged them then pulled out when the army team showed up and proved an intimidating physical force. At first the match was scheduled to be played on the cricket ground, but rain meant it was moved onto the ground outside the MCG itself.
The military team went in with the size and fitness advantage and after undergoing intensive match practice were expected to use these to make life tough for Melbourne, but when the game started it became clear that the football side's skill advantage would win out in the end.
The first goal came within five minutes, with the ball never having passed halfway for the military side. When ends were changed they got another one shortly after through Thomas. Most of the play remained within 100 yards of the goal the soldiers were defending, and after several missed opportunities Towle finally scored the third.
It took 45 minutes for the fourth goal to come as the soldiers became more adept at following the local rules and playing as a team. They put Melbourne's goal under attack several times but were rebuffed and didn't even kick a behind. Bell eventually got the fourth goal for the home side.
After the match a scratch game was played between teams chosen by captain Henry Harrison and vice-captain James Byrne.
Harrison (c), Byrne (vc), Barker, Bell, Bruford, Carr, Duff, Finlay, Freeman, C. Forrester, Goldsmith, Hope, Loughnan, Riggall, Ryan, Stodart, Towle. Emergency - J. Forrester, Searil and Thomas.
The Geelong Advertiser estimates the crowd at 5000, and some sources have the score as 5-0 with Thomas scoring a second.
Argus - 23/05/1870
Argus - 28/05/1870
Argus - 30/05/1870
Geelong Advertiser - 31/05/1870
Australasian - 04/06/1870