Jim Marsden

Promoting MacArthur: Jim Marsden. Photo: Jeff de Pasquale

Former Wests Magpies chairman Jim Marsden says he took NRL chief David Smith and other heavy hitters on a bus tour of the MacArthur region to highlight Sydney's south-west as a league goldmine, not to position himself to become a director on a restructured Wests Tigers board.

Marsden, who recently ended his seemingly controversial role as an adviser to the Greater Western Sydney AFL team - considering he is a league man - runs a law firm in MacArthur. He is a former deputy chairman of Wests Tigers and there was speculation his tour of the area with the likes of Smith, Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer, businessmen and politicians on Thursday could've been to push his claim to become one of the three independent directors the NRL is tipped to demand are included on the club's board.

Marsden said the suggestion he wanted to become a Wests Tigers director was incorrect. ''No, no … I've been there,'' he said. ''I have a very busy legal practice and I also spend a bit more time with my family these days.''

He insisted the tour was simply to show off MacArthur as rugby league territory because state government figures predict the region is set for a population explosion of about 100,000-120,000 people during the next eight years.

''Anybody can get that information, but what I wanted to do was … living out here I know talent that is coming out of the ground,'' he said. ''After a meeting with Grant Mayer late last year I suggested we invite David Smith to take a tour, David accepted that invitation and I invited along other people including local business people and politicians. I don't have any high expectations for anything to come out of the meeting. It was my intention to put forward to the NRL that he [Smith] is fully aware and accepts what's happening, so he's fully aware when decisions are made about the positioning of NRL entities - including clubs - they take it into account.

''And David seemed to acknowledge the area was an emerging area, a rapidly emerging area.''

The tour was staged just as the NRL is likely to demand three independent directors sit on the Wests Tigers board after Balmain has not contributed towards the joint venture's costs over the past two years because of its well-documented financial problems.

Wests Ashfield has supported the NRL franchise after Balmain sold its leagues club when the former state government unveiled plans - since shelved - for a metro-style train system. A proposed residential and business development on the site in Rozelle failed to be approved by the appropriate bodies and consequently starved the Tigers of a significant cash flow.

It is understood Balmain has until the end of January to answer questions posed to it by the NRL about its financial situation. If it failed to provide satisfactory responses, Fairfax Media understands the NRL, which wants the situation remedied before the season kicks off, will call for the appointment of three independent directors.