Tom Nicholls ruckman backing skipper Gary Ablett

GOLD Coast ruckman Tom Nicholls has defended beleaguered captain Gary Ablett amid criticism the dual Brownlow medallist should put his shoulder to the wheel and get back on the field.

Speaking on Fox Footy on Monday night, former Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown said Ablett, who hasn't played since aggravating his reconstructed left shoulder in the round-two loss to St Kilda, said it was time for the champion midfielder to stand up.

"There's an obligation to do everything in your powers to play football ... even more so as a leader," he said.

But Nicholls (pictured) denied Ablett was not leading by example, saying he had kept the players continually informed about his injury and what he was doing to return to action.

"He's so professional; he'll get his body just right before he can play. He won't get it 100%, but he'll get it 80%, so he knows when he's out there, he's not going to let us down," Nicholls said.

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