The Northern Pride, along with the Mackay Cutters (against whom they played their debut game), were the two expansion teams for the 2008 season of the QRL Wizard Queensland Cup. Both teams are feeder clubs to the North Queensland Cowboys.
Cairns was represented in the QRL State Competition (called the Channel Nine Cup 1996-7; Queensland Cup 1998-9; Bundy Gold Cup 2000) from 1996-2000 by the Cairns Cyclones, but a lack of support resulted in their withdrawal. Further representation in the competition was suggested in 2006 by a Cairns-based consortium of John O’Brien, Denis Keeffe, Nigel Tillet and John Moore, this time with the support of the North Queensland Cowboys and 9 of the 11 CDRL Clubs. The team name and logo were unveiled in July 2007 at a “Legends of Origin” lunch held at The Reef Hotel Casino.
The Club is a development club built around the phrase ‘Born and Bred.’ It was formed to create a regionally based talent development pathway for players, coaches and administrators. Prior to the creation of the Club, talented Far North Queensland rugby league players were invariably forced to move away from the region to go to schools and/or join southern based state league and national league clubs. The Northern Pride competes in the Open Men’s Competition (currently called the Intrust Super Cup due to sponsorship obligations), as well as the Under-16 competition (Cyril Connell Cup) and the Under-18 competition (Mal Meninga Cup).