Titans to embrace huge road trip
It's a cross-country excursion no NRL team has ever previously been asked to make but Zeb Taia is confident the Titans' two-week road trip to Perth and Darwin will be the making of their season and not break it.
On the back of wins against the Roosters and Panthers the Titans are back within reach of the top eight ahead of their bye this weekend but then face consecutive games away from home against the Rabbitohs in Perth and the Eels in Darwin.
It's a mid-year assignment that sent alarm bells ringing amongst senior Titans officials when the draw was released late last year but Gold Coast players have vowed to embrace the demanding schedule in order to get their season back on track.
"If you're dreading a nine-day trip from Perth to Darwin, of course it's going to play a big part in trying to win games," Taia said ahead of a four-day break.
"We have to embrace it. It is a tough ask but I reckon the boys are up for it.
"To get these two games on the road will definitely put us right back up there of being in the mix of the top eight and all that.
"Getting those two wins is definitely going to play a big part in us getting back into the eight."
It's not uncommon for teams to use a bye weekend to get away from the norm of the home training base and conduct mid-season camps to freshen things up, and Titans co-captain William Zillman believes their upcoming trip can serve a similar purpose.
"It will be good to get away with the team and hopefully get a couple of wins as well," Zillman said.
"Obviously it's a change in our schedule but we're pretty much halfway through the season now and we can use it as an opportunity to have a little camp to ourselves and get away, recharge the batteries and hopefully win some football games at the same time.
"Obviously we're spending pretty much every day together so it is a camp-type situation and midway through the season it could be a real positive for us.
"We're fortunate that we're going into it with a little bit of confidence after a couple of good wins but that means nothing when you're out there."
Taia did plenty of travel in three years at the Catalans Dragons in the English Super League and said a key to a strong performance is what happens in downtime between training sessions.
Out of their normal routines at home, Taia said it will be vital for his teammates to keep a check on their diet whilst on the road.
"It's going to be a bit of a challenge with the preparation part of things but everyone needs to be on their game in that department," said the 31-year-old who hasn't missed a game since joining the Titans this season.
"It's the way we prepare for those games, especially being on the road for nine days. Going to Perth and then going to Darwin is definitely going to be a tough ask but we're prepared for it and I'm looking forward to it.
"I did similar trips like this in the Super League when we stayed over there for one week and played two games.
"What comes into play is your preparation, what you do every day with your spare time. You're going to be around the boys a lot and you need to be real strict about the food that you eat."