Blake Hardwick's second-half four-goal haul has seen him earn the Round 4 MVP nomination in Hawthorn's five-point loss to Collingwood.

The 27-year-old's strong showing came off the back a large stint of the past pre-season spending the majority of the time training in attack.

Remarkably, he started the game as a defender at Adelaide Oval, playing an important role in the first half.

But with his side down by 38 points at half-time, Hardwick was called on by Senior Coach Sam Mitchell to head up forward.

What ensued was a major spark for the brown and gold, which very nearly led to a breathtaking come-from-behind win, as Hardwick bagged a career-high four goals, with three of those coming in the third term alone.

He complemented the haul with 15 disposals, seven marks (five of those were inside 50) and seven score involvements. 

Mitchell was thrilled with Hardwick's output when speaking to the media post-game.

“He’s a frustratingly good player," Mitchell admitted.

"I’m really nervous to move him out of the back half at any time because he’s so important for us back there but we knew the contest in front of the game was an area where we struggled.

"We lost a lot of team shape in the second quarter in particular so we made a few changes at half-time.

"I think everyone who’s watched him train and play at different times forward has thought that was happening and thought that he’s going to be able to kick a score at some point.

"We’ve used him at different times there but this was the first time he really got the opportunities and took them and I was pleased for him.

"But moving him out of the backline, you’re always a bit nervous but I was proud of him, I thought he had a fantastic performance.

"Even in the first half, I thought he was excellent down back.”

Watch Hardwick's Round 4 MVP highlights below.