Illawarra coach Mathew Head is looking forward to the challenges of his new position ahead of his team's season opener against the Penrith Panthers at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Saturday, March 4.

Head played 78 NRL games for the St George Illawarra Dragons and Wests Tigers before transitioning into coaching.

The former halfback plied his trade in the junior representative system at Balmain, before joining the club in 2016 as the coach of the Under 20s. 

With plenty of his experience under his belt working with younger players, Head is excited about the challenge of working in a new environment with a mix of youth and experience. 

Head admits he is aware that the role may have its difficulties balancing both part-time and full-time players, but he is impressed by the playing group's willingness to learn and better themselves.

Additionally, Head is pleased to see the club's young talent get an opportunity at this level, and is equally excited to see Mose Masoe return to the field.

Masoe hasn't set foot on the field since he played for St Helens in the 2015 Super League grand final. 

"The transition into my new role has been pretty good to be honest. The squad have been very welcoming and are eager to learn, listen, and get better as players and individuals," Head said.

"I'm excited to see some young kids get a run this weekend, and I am looking forward to seeing big Mose Masoe take the field for the first time.

"Every encounter I have with Mose is always a positive one. He is a positive person who always has a smile on his face, so it's really pleasing to see him fit and ready to go after being sidelined for such a long time."