As the clock winds down to the new season and players endure the renowned rigours of pre-season, I take a look at those players that could well prove to be stand-outs in their respective sides for 2018. This list will be completed in alphabetical order - as the Super League table currently looks before the season begins in February.

Castleford Tigers - Ben Roberts

After making the move to West Yorkshire at the end of 2014, Ben Roberts took some time to settle in. Yet after embedding himself into head coach Daryl Powell's playing style, Castleford fans began to see the best of the Samoan international.

Although he missed nearly all of the 2016 season with a foot injury, Roberts bounced back in tremendous style to forge a brilliant half-back partnership with scrum-half Luke Gale in 2017, playing a key role in the Tigers' best-ever top-flight season.

The loss of Zak Hardaker has made many Rugby League fans question whether the Tigers can replicate their stunning 2017 form, yet, Powell believes he has found Hardaker's replacement - Roberts. A dangerous, strong runner with the ability to dazzle the opposition with outstanding footwork, and with a solid defensive side to his game that very few halves possess, Roberts has all the quality to make the No.1 spot his own in 2018.

Catalans Dragons - Lucas Albert

Just 19 years of age, Lucas Albert began to make his name with the Dragons at the back end of what was a dismal season for the French side in 2017. Appearing eight times for Catalans in 2017, the young Albert impressed and seemed to be more influential in the Dragons' side than either of the two half-backs in front of him - Richie Myler and Luke Walsh.

With 20 Super League games under his belt since he debuted back in 2015, Albert will be looking to add many more in 2018. And, with Thomas Bosc retiring at the end of last season and Richie Myler moving on to pastures new at Leeds Rhinos, Catalans will be looking to Albert to strike up a formidable partnership with Luke Walsh in order to ensure a top-eight finish.

Huddersfield Giants - Jake Mamo

After moving to the Giants ahead of the 2017 season, but blighted by injury, Jake Mamo only made his debut for his new club in mid-April. However, in the nine games in which he played - until he was once more sidelined and this time for the remainder of the season - Mamo registered 12 tries and helped steer Huddersfield into a top-eight spot after five wins from nine.

With Mamo in the side the Giants won five from nine, without Mamo directing proceedings at full-back, the West Yorkshire side won just six from 21. And, in those nine games where Mamo assumed the No.1 role, the impact he had on the Giants' team was all there to see; an elusive, athletic runner, but also a confident, communicative defender, Mamo could be the difference between Huddersfield making the top-eight and having to endure the ignominy of a Middle 8s finish in 2018.

Hull FC - Albert Kelly

Who else but this man really? If Castleford had not totally dominated 2017, Albert Kelly would have surely won the Man of Steel. In just his first season on this side of Hull after making the controversial switch from near and bitter rivals KR, Kelly fit into the Black-and-Whites' side like a hand fits in a glove. With 20 tries in 29 games and eight man-of-the-match awards, Kelly proved to be the Airlie Birds' inspiration in yet another Challenge Cup winning season.

A slippery customer that can create something out of nothing, Kelly complemented fellow half-back Marc Sneyd's controlled passing and kicking game outstandingly well. And, in a combination that seemed seamless, Kelly and Sneyd orchestrated yet another top-four finish for the Airlie Birds. Having settled in so easily and with a fantastic 2017 behind him, Kelly has the talent and determination to take his performances to another level in 2018.