There are very few examples of match description in the early days of Melbourne football. However, this poem, written in 1858 and published in Melbourne Punch (30 September) gives us a very good sense of the way football was played in Melbourne in its early organised form.
If the poem (written by a local journalist about identifiable historical facts and figures) is to be believed, early Melbourne football involved a hell of a lot of kicking and not much catching or running with the ball.
Aiming at iambic pentameter but usually getting only as far as doggerel, the poem is a remarkable document that has escaped notice—perhaps because of a prejudice against poetry as an inadequate form of documentary. This is a shame because the verse is as thorough as any other contemporary match description.
Harp of the South, whose mildewed chords unstretched,
All idly and ingloriously have dangled
Since erst the sporting minstrel boldly fetched
Those chords a wipe, and softly disentangled
Melodious strains, sweet woven, quaintly fangled,
Singing how Ireland raced with Frank the fleet,
A race that o'er their laurelled brows bespangled
Pedalian glories—once again we'll beat
Thy tuned-up strings in praise of nimble-footed feat.