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A-League Grand Final: 50-50 challenge

Australian A-League
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Starting A-League season during international break is 'pretty average' - Alex Wilkinson

Big names from across the A-League launch the new season, set to get underway on Friday October 11.
Thomas Deng talks about his new role amongst the Melbourne Victory leadership group ahead of the 2019/20 A-League season.
Western United FC show a glimpse of the preparations going into their debut season in the A-League.

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.

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"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.

Right-back Rhyan Grant and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne are in the Socceroos squad and will miss the Sky Blues' trip to Adelaide on Friday.

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.

Melbourne City will face cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory without striker Jamie Maclaren while the Victory have lost Kenny Athiu, who has been called up by South Sudan.

Alex Wilkinson
Alex Wilkinson has called the decision to start the A-League season in an international break 'pretty average.'

The African nation has also selected Central Coast pair Ruon Tongyik and Abraham Majok, meaning they will miss the Mariners' clash against Western Sydney on Saturday.

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."

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