The 2012 All Australian, who was on a modified program at the beginning of the pre-season, is one of a group of senior Swans players who have now worked their way back into the main training group.
“Myself and a few other guys have been filtered back into the main group over the last few weeks and what you’re seeing now is a couple of other guys who have had different pre-seasons now coming back in as well,” Richards told SwansTV.
“We’re getting big numbers back in (to main training), which is great because we’ve got practice games just round the corner.”
The start of 2013 has brought longer, more gruelling training sessions for the Swans, with pre-season moving from skills and fitness to match-based training.
Richards said he was pleased with his own fitness at this stage and that he much preferred taking part in the tougher sessions than running on the sidelines.
“(My fitness) is constantly improving, which is fantastic,” he said.
“We’re pretty deep into January now and it’s been a pretty intense month for us with big long sessions, especially last week where we had a 45 degree day, so with temperatures like that it gets pretty intense.
“Before Christmas I was just doing straight line running which is bloody boring and now I’m back out and joining in the main sessions and getting match fitness.
“It’s one thing to have fitness running laps and in straight lines, but that’s not really AFL fitness, which is getting up, getting down and chasing side-to-side. That’s what it’s all about.”
With the NAB Cup less than a month away, Richards said he was confident his fitness would allow him to fully participate in the three-round competiton.
He said while a few of his fellow senior team mates could be rested for the pre-season competiton, he was ready to take part from the first round.
“Right now I’m doing full training and I’m in good shape,” he said.
“There will be a couple of the older guys who might be filtered in towards the end of the NAB Cup series but right now I see no reason why I won’t be taking full part.”
Ahead of the NAB Cup, the Swans will venture north to Coffs Harbour next week for a four-day training camp.
Richards said the camp was something he and his team mates were eagerly awaiting.
“We’ve been up (to Coffs) a few times, once for a training camp a few years ago, and once for some NAB Challenge games,” he said.
“The Wallabies have a training base up there, so they’ve got pretty good facilities and we’ll be training up there.”
Football and training aside, the 30-year-old said there was one part of the Coffs Harbour camp that he was most looking forward to – the team skirmish session.
“We’re all looking forward to the Wednesday afternoon when we’ve got paintball or team skirmish,” he said,
“We’ll probably break up into two teams, but in the end it’s just going to be everyone for themselves shooting each other.”
Richards said his premiership team mate Kieren Jack is likely to be in his line of fire during the session and hoped that new housemate and younger brother Xavier would be on his side.
“For me I’m going to be going Kieren Jack … and I know he’ll be coming after me,” he said.
“(Xavier) better be an ally because if he’s not I’m kicking him out!”