The Championships were first staged in Karratha/Dampier in 1996, with five teams competing for the inaugural award as the North West Champions. The five teams were Central, East and West Kimberley, De Grey and West Pilbara. The De Grey and West Pilbara teams came from the strong North Pilbara league and represented the Hedland-based players (De Grey) and the Karratha based players (West Pilbara). When the concept of the North West Championships was initiated, the Kimberley-based leagues were fearful of the strong North Pilbara league, which was a past A-grade Wesfarmers Champion in Perth, hence the league offered to spit into two to ensure an even competition. The first championship was one by the West Kimberley.