Ellery Hanley tells Catalans and Wigan players not to be overawed by the Camp Nou

ELLERY Hanley has told Catalans and Wigan players to treat Saturday as if they are playing on the local park rather than at the Camp Nou.

A record Super League crowd is expected in Barcelona after the football giants invited their rugby league cousins to play at the famous stadium following their Challenge Cup win last year.

Catalans have sold more than 20,000 tickets and up to 5,000 Wigan fans – more than they may take to Magic Weekend just down the road in Liverpool – are expected to travel.

Throw in Barcelona pitching Saturday’s clash to their 30 million Twitter followers and it is easy to see why people can get excited.

But Wigan legend Hanley, who played at huge venues around the world, insists not getting daunted by the thought of appearing at a sporting cathedral or sharing the same pitch as Lionel Messi can help bring the best out of the stars.

He said: “Every individual is built differently and how they react in different situations but only they can control them.

“I could put everything to one side regardless of the noise and I thrived on it. That made me a better player and a better person.

“Before the game starts, you’ll hear the noise but once it starts, as a player it’s almost gone but some players feel the effect for longer in terms of where they’re playing though.

“Some are very fragile mentally, they’re just like us.

“Playing in Barcelona is a fantastic idea, a great notion and if it can attract supporters from different avenues it’s fantastic for the game. I’m going and I’m looking forward to the experience.”

Hanley also told players from both sides that once the Camp Nou experience is over, move on and on to the next game.

The 58-year-old, who played for Wigan on Milwaukee, USA, 30 years ago, added: “I took games very individually as once they are over I park them.

“Then I’d move on and leave a game completely as the most important thing is the future.”

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