Noovao, who steered the Bulldogs to their club competition win last year, had decided to take a break this season.
But an eleventh hour call to take over the reins again will see the former national rep guiding the Bulldogs from the sideline.
“I joined the team on Monday this week and had a couple of runs. I feel sorry for the boys because there hasn’t been any proper preparation,” Noovao said.
“As a coach, I’ve got to be confident in the players I have available at the moment and we have to keep things simple and basic. All I want to do is give the Bears a good game.”
There has been a lack of intensity in the team preparation due to instability in coaching staff, but Noovao said this should not serve as an excuse for the side ahead of the much-anticipated clash today.
“We all knew when the pre-season started and the onus was on us as a team to prepare well,” he said.
“We are the defending champions and we have to go into this season with similar attitude in order to defend the title.”
Bears made a good start to their season after beating Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles 32-14 in round one of the competition at Raemaru Park last week.
Coach Eddie Teraitua was pleased with the performance of the players but said there was room for improvement.
“We had a good start in the Nines but we had to step up to another level from there,” Teraitua said.
“Talking from experience, we have to work on our defence and fitness and that is what we have been doing for the past few weeks in preparation for this season.”
The Bears have a perfect mix of young players who graduated from the age-group level, with some senior players guiding the team.
“We have opened the doors for the young ones, but there are a few old hands in there who with their experience are guiding the team.”
In the other premier match this weekend, the Sea Eagles will host Tupapa Panthers at Nukupure Park. Panthers defeated TKV Warriors in round one.
Age-group and reserve-grade matches will be held at both venues prior to the premier clashes which kick off at 5pm.
Meanwhile the postponed Warriors versus Avatiu Nikao Eels will now be played on Monday at the Happy Valley Field at 5pm.
Nukupure Park at 11am: Junior development U11s, 13s etc; 3.30pm: Reserves, Warriors-Panthers; 5pm: Premiers, Sea Eagles-Panthers. Teimurimotia Park at 3.30pm: Reserves, Bulldogs-Bears; 5pm: Premiers, Bulldogs-Bears.