Hull coach Peter Gentle's bold selection gamble paid dividends as the Black and Whites pulled off a 32-18 win over arch rivals Hull KR in Monday night's Stobart Super League derby at Craven Park to secure only their second win in eight games.
Gentle had dropped Australian scrum-half Brett Seymour, their high-profile signing for 2013, and they looked a transformed side with five different try scorers securing victory, this despite Rovers taking the lead in the first half and then staging a second-half fightback.
Hull's win lifted them above fast-fading Huddersfield into seventh place and left the Robins struggling to make the top eight after a fourth consecutive defeat.
Gentle experimented with a new half-back pairing of Aaron Heremaia and Ryan McGoldrick and also gave debuts to on-loan St Helens winger Jamie Foster and local youngster Tom Lineham, taking the number of players he has used so far this season to 34.
Foster kicked six goals from as many attempts to make it a memorable debut. The Robins took the lead with a fifth-minute penalty from Michael Dobson but they were badly out of sorts throughout a first half.
McGoldrick rounded Dobson to score straight from a scrum, awarded after full-back Shannon McDonnell had fumbled Foster's restart, and centre Jordan Turner added a second try following a break by impressive full-back Richard Horne.
The Black and Whites extended their lead just before half-time with a Foster penalty but it was down to just six points six minutes into the second half when Hull KR scored their first try. James Laithwaite scored his first Super League try after video referee Ian Smith gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Dobson kicked his second goal but Hull quickly restored their 12-point advantage. Dobson got back to deny McGoldrick after a superb break by Watts but there was no stopping second-rower Willie Manu as he broke clean through Rovers' defence to get centre Kirk Yeaman over for a third try.
At 20-8, Hull looked to have the game in the bag but Rovers staged a stirring fightback, scoring two tries in five minutes to close the gap to just two points. Rovers ought to have added a third try when Dobson produced another clean break but Tom Briscoe and Lineham got back to bring down the supporting Sam Latus 10 yards short of the line.
The visitors took full advantage of the let-off when loose forward Richard Whiting took McGoldrick's defence-splitting pass to score his side's fourth try and Hull made sure of the win when Foster got Briscoe over four minutes from the end.