The AFL has defended the controversial fixturing of tonight's Carlton-West Coast match at Patersons Stadium, saying the Thursday night timeslot was done purely to maximise television exposure.

The unusual positioning of tonight's game has raised eyebrows all week, given the Blues have had just six days break since their last game against Geelong, while the Eagles have not played since June 3 - an 11-day break - due to the bye.

Tonight's game is one of only three Thursday night games for the season.
 
"It's another prime-time broadcast opportunity for us, and coming off a bye it's possible to do it," an AFL spokesman confirmed.

"Carlton and West Coast are big-drawing clubs and you've got multiple states involved, which is good. From our point of view, a six-day break is acceptable, so it fits together."

The fixture has confused many football followers given round 12 is the second of three rounds featuring just six games, which means there were alternative times the game could have been played that would have given the Blues more rest.

Playing the game on either Saturday or Sunday would have lessened the five-day advantage West Coast has on Carlton in terms of recovery from the club's most recent games.

The Thursday night fixture means all six matches this round are effectively 'stand alone' games, as they do not run into each other's timeslots like in other rounds.