Australian prop Cuthbertson – a revelation in his first season since joining from Newcastle Knights – and England full-back Hardaker are each in the running for the prestigious award along with St Helens’ Dewsbury-born ex-Batley Bulldogs front-row Alex Walmsley.
Former dual-code international Iestyn Harris was the last Leeds player to be crowned Man of Steel in 1998.
The award is presented to the player adjudged to have made the biggest impact on the season and chosen by a poll of every player in Super League.
The results are then considered by a specially-convened panel featuring a former Man of Steel, a current player and one representative each from the written and broadcast media.
The award has been going since 1977 and was last year renamed in memory of Steve Prescott, one of the game’s most respected players who passed away in 2013 after a long and courageous battle against a rare form of stomach cancer.
The three nominees for Super League’s Young Player of the Year are Wigan Warriors duo Joe Burgess and George Williams plus Warrington Wolves second-row Ben Currie.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester on Monday October 5, when the Coach of the Year will also be revealed.