Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce is wary of their AFLW favouritism, saying every team will improve in the second season and nothing is certain.
A survey of the eight captains before Tuesday's season launch raised eyebrows, with nobody tipping reigning premiers Adelaide would make the grand final.
Second-placed Brisbane also received no love, with the captains asked which team other than their own would make the grand final.
Instead four picked the Demons, with three tipping Carlton to also improve and the eighth going for the Western Bulldogs.
"I know we've improved - you can feel this group is in a different position to what it was 12 months ago," Pearce said.
"It's almost like a completely different team.
"But I'm well aware every team would be feeling that exact same thing."
Pearce said with a season under everyone's belt, there is more predictability around the competition.
But she says there will still be plenty of surprises.
"With the trajectory that the competition is improving, it's really hard to get a hold on who's going to be where - as individuals and as teams," she said.
Crows captain Erin Phillips, the league's first best and fairest winner, shrugged off what the rival captains think about Adelaide this season.
"That's okay - I think we were picked to finish bottom, so we'll keep tradition," she said.
"Hopefully we can surprise a few people like we did last year."
Melbourne kicked 11.4 in the last round - the highest score of the inaugural season - but the Crows won the following day to take second spot from them and go into the premiership decider.
"It felt like ever since we were bumped out of the comp in that last round, that I've just been waiting for this week to arrive," Pearce said.
"It was a bit of an eerie and disappointing way to finish up - we nearly won by 10 goals and less than 24 hours later, we're bitterly disappointed.
"It gave us a taste of the level we can get to and our best is up there."
The AFL has introduced the "last touch" rule, paying a free kick against the last player to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds.
The aim is to speed up the game and ease congestion.
While the inaugural season was a major success, there was not enough scoring.
"I want to see good footy, so if that means the scores are higher, then fantastic," said new AFLW football boss Nicole Livingstone.
Pearce said the last-touch rules presented tactical opportunities, while Phillips is not such a big fan.
"For me, who just adjusted to AFL, they've put in a last-touch rule and taken one player off (the interchange), so they're not making life easier for the old girls," she said.
The season starts with the marquee Carlton v Collingwood clash on Friday night at Princes Park.