The current Rays team in the NRC takes its identity from the Central Coast Rays side that played in the earlier national competition, the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC). The Rays drew players mainly from four Shute Shield clubs; Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, and Warringah. The Central Coast Waves club was also aligned with the Rays for the ARC, but the competition was disbanded following the first season in 2007. After an absence of six years, the national competition was relaunched as the NRC in 2014.
The Rays' name was adopted for the team's first incarnation on the Central Coast, with a manta ray chosen to represent the marine environment of the local area. The logo features a manta ray in navy blue, outlined in white, on a stylised emerald green and white rugby ball, outlined in navy blue. The only change from the original logo has been the name prefix moving from Central Coast to North Harbour and, as of 2016, Sydney. The team plays in a harlequin-style quartered strip composed of blue, red, green, gold and black colours from the four constituent clubs. All four clubs’ colours are also featured on the socks.
In 2007, an attempt was made to form a third tier of rugby in Australia, similar to New Zealand's ITM Cup and South Africa's Currie Cup. The newly formed competition included eight teams and was called the Australian Rugby Championship. Three of those teams were based in New South Wales, including a Central Coast team.
The Central Coast Rays' name and colours were officially unveiled in March 2007 by the New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU). The Rays' navy blue and emerald colours represented the ocean and bush landscape of the region.
The Rays' local rivals in the ARC were the Sydney Fleet and the Western Sydney Rams. The three ARC teams from New South Wales were aligned with existing clubs and regions. The clubs aligned with the Central Coast Rays were Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, and Warringah, from the Shute Shield competition, as well as the Central Coast Waves.
The Central Coast Rays played their home games at the Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium at Gosford, on the New South Wales Central Coast. Bluetongue Stadium, with an all-seater capacity of 20,159, had previously hosted numerous rugby union fixtures including Central Coast Waves matches and New South Wales Waratahs matches during the Australian Provincial Championship.