The Tigers celebrate a try at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday.

The Tigers celebrate a try at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

Former Wests Magpies chairman Jim Marsden has warned the NRL not to leave Campbelltown to rival codes, as the game’s governing body refused to guarantee Wests Tigers would continue playing in the region.

Marsden and another ex-Magpies director, Daniel Watson-Hayes, responded to suggestions the club may abandon Campbelltown Stadium after posting a crowd of just 6456 for last Saturday night’s match against North Queensland by accusing the joint venture of neglecting the area for 15 years.

Jim Marsden.

Jim Marsden. Photo: Jeff de Pasquale

‘‘It is a build-up of frustration and people basically having a gutful of being neglected,’’ Watson-Hayes said. ‘‘I solemnly believe that the area has just said, ‘Stuff you, you call yourself Wests Tigers, you are based 60kilometres away, you turn up here four times a year and you have a retail outlet at Macarthur Square. If you think that is good enough, it is not.’’’

Despite no longer having any official role with the game, Marsden recently took NRL boss Dave Smith and Wests Tigers CEO Grant Mayer on a tour of the Macarthur region and outlined to them how the population was set to grow by about 120,000 within the coming decade.

While Campbelltown is considered rugby league heartland, Marsden said the Western Sydney Wanderers and GWS Giants were already making inroads.

‘‘It doesn’t have to be Wests Tigers – although obviously through my association with Wests Tigers and with Wests Tigers having their footprint here now, I believe that would be the way to do it – but rugby league should be taking advantage of the massive growth that is going to happen over the next 10 to 15 years,’’ Marsden said. ‘‘If rugby league doesn’t grab that then the Wanderers or GWS will.’’

However, an NRL spokesperson said the league would not direct Wests Tigers to continue playing games at Campbelltown Stadium.

‘‘It is a matter for the Wests Tigers to determine which venue they use against each team during the premiership season,’’ the spokesperson said. ‘‘The NRL will continue to do what it can to support the clubs to encourage crowds to attend games, no matter where they are held.’’

A new board comprising three NRL-appointed directors and two each from Wests and Balmain is expected to be established in the coming weeks as a condition of the $7million bail-out package Wests Tigers received from the league.

With Balmain effectively broke and Wests Leagues Club at Campbelltown recently pulling funding for the joint venture, Watson-Hayes said he understood Wests Tigers had to ensure their financial viability. But Watson-Hayes pointed out crowds at Campbelltown had been in steady decline since 2011 and compared the mood in the area to that in

Gosford when Central Coast Bears fans boycotted Northern Eagles games because of Manly’s dominance of the now defunct joint venture.

‘‘They basically did not want to support a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing and the people of the Campbelltown-Macarthur region are doing the same thing,’’ he said. ‘‘They don’t want a rebadged Balmain, they don’t want a team who turns up here four times a year, they want their own team.’’

Watson-Hayes feels so strongly about the issue, he has written a lengthy article headlined ‘‘A region neglected: How the West was lost’’ for rugbyleaguehub.com.

Marsden questioned the number of non-Sydney teams that played at Campbelltown and said it was ridiculous to compare the 16,000 crowd that attended the previous weekend’s match against Manly at Leichhardt Oval with the turn out last Saturday night.

He also predicted Mayer’s comment that the round-11 match against Brisbane was ‘‘the last throw of the dice’’ for Campbelltown to show they supported Wests Tigers would backfire.

‘‘They are fighting words,’’ he said. ‘‘If you say that to any Australian, they’ll tell you to stick it up your arse.’’