DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 03: Lionel Messi of Argentina tracked by Aaron Mooy (l) Kye Rowles (2l) Mathew Leckie (2r) and Jackson Irvine (r) of Australia during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Argentina and Australia at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The AFL's choice to upstage Australia's valiant World Cup efforts has been blasted as "lame" by veteran footy journalist Caroline Wilson.

As the Socceroos kicked off their date with destiny in the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium at 6:00 am (AEDT) on Sunday, schedule makers at AFL House sought to seize the moment, simultaneously releasing the opening round of their 2023 fixture.

Though Graham Arnold's men eventually fell to South American giants Argentina, led masterfully by the genius of Lionel Messi, scenes witnessed around the continent - including another fleet's worth of flares at Federation Square - proved that it was indeed the world game's moment.

Given a choice to release the opening week of the schedule came at the moment that the country gathered to hail heroes from another code, it is impossible to see this effort as anything other than a deliberate attack.

Speaking on ABC's 'Offsiders', Wilson contended that the league's attempts to subvert the unifying moment were lamentable.

"I thought the response this morning to release the Round 1 fixture of the AFL 2023 season, and to be run on the front page of the News Limited paper in Melbourne, was just lame of the AFL," Wilson stated in the hours after Australia's 2-1 loss on Sunday.

"I would have just given them (the Socceroos) a bit of clean air today. I thought that was disappointing by the AFL."

The AFL's misfire also drew ire from social media users, many of whom were left perplexed and outraged.

In spite of their timing, the league's choice to pit comparable teams together to start the 2023 season has provided fans with multiple must-watch clashes.

Old enemies Carlton and Richmond will commence their campaigns on Thursday, March 16 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

24 hours later, Pies and Cats fans will converge on Yarra Park to resume hostilities for the first time since their thrilling qualifying final contest in September.

At the other end of the spectrum, cellar dwellers West Coast will travel to face North Melbourne in what will be Alastair Clarkson's first contest in Roos' colours since August of 1994.

The first round will draw to a close when Ross Lyon saunters back into Marvel Stadium to witness his Saints face a familiar foe in Fremantle.

The remainder of the 2023 AFL fixture is expected to be released in the coming days.