Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo says it's "crazy" the A-League finals will be played during an upcoming international break without several star players.
Reality hit for the newly crowned premiers on Tuesday when Connor Metcalfe, Curtis Good and top goalscorer Jamie Maclaren all received Socceroos call-ups for World Cup qualifiers in June against Kuwait, Taiwan, Nepal and Jordan.
While the trio's call-up had been anticipated for weeks, Kisnorbo was clearly unhappy he won't have any of the three players available for the finals campaign.
As well as City, Sydney FC will lose Rhyan Grant, Ryan McGowan and Andrew Redmayne while Central Coast defender Ruon Tongyik is also bound for Kuwait.
In contrast finals-bound teams such as Brisbane, who defeated City 3-0 in Redcliffe on Tuesday, and Adelaide will not lose any players over the international period.
"The game needs to have a whole broad look at itself and it's not just us. I'm sure other teams that might lose one or two or three maybe players feel the same," Kisnorbo said.
"The question I ask is how can we still play a league when there's international breaks? It's crazy.
"Is it integrity? Is it a great show of our game in Australia?
"I don't know, you have to ask the powers that be. They're the ones that control this sort of stuff.
"I'm only here to coach my team and worry about my team."
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, who also selected Perth Glory's Chris Ikonomidis, Macarthur's Denis Genreau and Western Sydney's Mitch Duke in his 31-man squad, was sympathetic to the clubs' plight.
But the national team boss said his role was to pick the squad he felt could do the job for Australia over the next three weeks.
"It wasn't anyone's fault that the finals are in this window," Arnold said.
"The border closures in Australia extended the competition in the A-League and we need our best team here, we need our best team for the Socceroos."
Maclaren is set to get married on Saturday, depending on the situation with Melbourne's latest COVID outbreak, meaning Tuesday's game against Brisbane was his final appearance of a remarkable 25-goal campaign.
Ikonomidis has already been released by Perth to join the Socceroos in the UAE with Duke and Tongyik expected to join him and other players later in the week.