It was with deep sadness that the club learned this weekend of the death of former conditioner Steve ‘Scrapper’ Carter MBE in a motorcycle accident.
Scrapper, as Steve was known to call, originally arrived at Headingley following a visit by Leeds Rhinos to the Tidworth Army Base for a pre-season training camp in 1997. He impressed then Head Coach Dean Bell who offered him the opportunity to come and join up with the club after he left the Armed Forces and then became and integral part of the squad during 1998 under Graham Murray as a masseur.
In 2000, Phil Davies offered Scrapper the chance to become conditioner of Leeds Tykes on a full time basis and he invariably set the tone for the teams much noted hard work and determination that ultimately got them promoted to the Premiership where they retained their status for five years and won the Powergen Cup.
Stuart Lancaster included Scrapper in his coaching team as promotion was once again secured before a new change of management with Andy Key and Neil Back's arrival gave Scrapper the chance to return to his former profession and work back in security.
Always ready to tell players of his stories travelling around the world in the army, usually involving his great friend George Hickinson, who passed away in 2012 after losing his battle with cancer, Scrapper was a true friend to many at the club and an inspirational character for the players who worked with him.
He was awarded a MBE in 1996 having served in the army for nearly 24 years, he rose as high as he could as a non-commissioned officer in the West Yorkshire Tank Regiment of the Royal Dragoon Guards, serving in Northern Ireland and all over Europe.
In an article with the Yorkshire Post back in 2007, he said, "I loved it. But after 24 years, my time was up. I would have had to get out at some stage and at 40, I had time to start a second career.
"The thought of an office job was killing me, but being in this environment was easy for me. I can understand why some people don't adjust – you get institutionalised.
"There are a lot of similarities with the army here: the team-work, and you work very similarly, in a hierarchical structure."
Having played rugby union and rugby league in the forces, he felt he had something to offer in professional sport.
When he left the army in 1997, he did a diploma in fitness training, then worked as an unpaid masseur for the Rhinos for four months before they offered him a contract.
Soon, he became the Tykes' conditioner and he has become so attached to Leeds that the summer of 2007, he declined an invitation to join the England squad on secondment in the build-up to the World Cup because he did not want to abandon his club in their hour of greatest need as they prepared to return to the Premiership under Lancaster.
"I missed an opportunity there. But this was such a big move for Leeds coming up, and it would have taken out the whole of pre-season. And I just love this club. I want to stay here. It would have to be something really excellent for me to move."
Scrapper's connection with the club continued however when his daughter Robyn became an invaluable member of the club's customer service team and he continued to support the club from afar.
On behalf of everyone connected with the club, we would like to send our deepest sympathies to his wife Donna and daughter Robyn, who is recovering in hospital having also been involved in the accident. Scrapper will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Scrapper Carter RIP