Holiday mode a trap for Titans: Petersen

Flyer Matt Petersen says Gold Coast players must break out of the "holiday mindset" to end their appalling away record in the NRL.

The Titans have won just three out of 14 matches on the road - including a "home" match at Suncorp Stadium last year - since their introduction into the competition.

They are desperate to prove they can outmuscle sides away from their new fortress Skilled Park, starting with the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night.

Cult figure Petersen, set to play his first match of the 2008 season after recovering from a hip injury, rejected any suggestion the team's dismal away form had become a mental block for the Titans.

"Maybe you fall into the trap of going into games you're expected to win and you become complacent," he said.

"I can't say we approach away games any different. We've tried a few different things.

"We're a new club and we're on the plane every second week.

"Once we get our head around that and it becomes second nature for us, it'll come.

"I don't think it's a mental thing.

"It'll be good to get that away win (against the Eels). It always makes the flight home a bit easier."

One theory floating around is that because most of the Titans started their NRL careers in Sydney where nine clubs are based, they aren't used to frequent flying and staying in hotels every second week.

"As soon as you go to the airport, people's mindset is that they're on holidays and you can't help that," Petersen said.

"To make it worse you're staying in a hotel and blokes might do things they don't normally do.

"You might eat a bit more because all the food's prepared for you or you might lay around all day and watch movies.

"It's hard to break the mindset because that's what you're programmed to do.

"I've got no doubt we'll win more than we lose away from home this year."

Petersen will return to Parramatta Stadium for the first time since he left the Eels at the end of 2006.

He replaces late-blooming winger Jordan Atkins, who suffered a serious knee injury during Gold Coast's 32-12 victory over Canberra last weekend.

Titans coach John Cartwright had no hesitation in naming Petersen in the starting side while including speedster Brenton Bowen on a six-man bench.

Petersen said he would stick to his natural game, despite the intense competition coming from the quality outside backs at the club.

"I think I have a different game to Jordy," he pointed out.

"He's a big, strong tall guy and I don't have his size.

"I won't be doing anything I don't normally do. That's where you fall into the trap in which you think you have to have a big game.

"I just want to get through the game with no injuries."

The Titans enjoy a share of the competition lead, with three wins out of their opening four games achieved, of course, at home.