Kicking off the A-League in the middle of a FIFA international window has left Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson baffled.
The Sky Blues will begin their championship defence on Friday against Adelaide United, 24 hours after Australia hosts Nepal in a World Cup qualifier in Canberra.
"I don't think it's a good thing at all," Wilkinson told AAP. "I think it's pretty average to be honest.
"I don't understand how we can have the first game of a new season being affected by internationals. It just doesn't make sense in my opinion."
With the addition of Western United creating a bye in the fixture list, A-League officials have opted to continue the competition during international windows despite the threat of teams losing players.
The call-ups meant Sydney FC could've asked to have the season opener postponed, a decision the club didn't take due to the importance of the fixture for the league according to chief executive Danny Townsend.
City captain Scott Jamieson said not having Maclaren for the blockbuster derby with Victory was a blow.
"Disappointed that we're missing him of course -- I think the league should be disappointed that they're missing a Socceroo, along with Sydney FC with Rhyan and Andrew," Jamieson told AAP.
"Disappointed that they're not involved but we accept it and we've been planning for it, so no excuses."