Dear Residents of the Cairns and Surrounding Communities,
I am well-aware that there has been much talk regarding the Cowboys taking over the Northern Pride, therefore I address this letter to you today in hope that it will answer some of your questions.
The North Queensland Cowboys have approached the Northern Pride Board of Directors to assess our club with an intent of taking over the financial guidance to promote sustainability in the club in the near future. During this process one of the main points that the Board of Directors and I are very mindful of is that the Pride does not lose their identity, as the colours and name were born to represent the area from Tully up to the Cape and out to the Gulf areas.
In prior years, the Northern Pride have struggled with the ability to keep the club viable with the main source of income being sponsorship and donations from Cairns local businesses. With the Cairns economy being very unrestrained this often leaves the Club with a constant struggle to remain sustainable. However, this has not been reflected on the field. The Pride are a Proud club having won two Premierships 2010 and 2014 in a short 10 years of existence. Our Club has become a great recruitment base from other ISC clubs with players in various teams in this competition.
The Northern Pride was set up as a Pathway Club for the local players to find a way into the NRL. First and foremost as a feeder club to the Cowboys then to the other NRL Clubs. This pathway has been a success over the years, with 5 players coming through the Pride and playing in the Cowboys Premiership team in 2015. The Pride will always be a Club that will recruit and develop local talent first and foremost however occasionally we have to look outside to fill some of the playing gaps.
The Prides largest obstacle is that a home ground is required to remain competitive. We need to become self-sufficient and try to generate our own revenue streams. That has been my goal since I was employed as CEO of this Club. Our home ground at Barlow Park, while the best surface in Australia, it is not conducive to Rugby League supporters and sponsors due in part to the lack of atmosphere created by being so far back from the action.
We have constant feedback from our sponsors and supporters reminding us of this. Over the years this has made it difficult to convince these people to commit to games and back the Pride.
We thank the Cairns City Council for their great support in allowing the Pride to play at Barlow Park. However – to move forward we believe a field thats primary purpose is to promote the interaction between the sponsors and spectators with the action on the playing field, patrons will therefore be able to absorb more of the atmosphere that the game of Rugby League produces.
The Northern Pride Board of Directors will have the final say on the takeover bid from the North Queensland Cowboys.