Promoted Hunslet gave an excellent account of themselves in their opening match.
Ian Hardman’s 17th-minute try put Rovers ahead, but they had Tim Spears sin-binned and the Hawks struck back with a touchdown from Callum Casey and two goals by Simon Brown to lead at the break.
Jack Bussey scored four minutes into the second half to put Featherstone back ahead, but the game then swung Hunslet’s way again when Liam Mackay crossed.
Featherstone then made their class tell, with Paul Sykes, Sam Irwin and French triallist Remy Marginet pulling the strings.
Sykes scored a clever solo try and Ben Blackmore grabbed two touchdowns to give Rovers a flattering win against a battling Hunslet team that included eight former Rovers players.
Featherstone coach Andy Hay said: “We made it hard for ourselves by turning over cheap possession, but luckily we got away with it in this game. We can’t do it every week and we have to learn a lesson from that.”
Hunslet coach Barry Eaton was pleased with his side, saying: “We gave them a really good scrap out there.”