SYDNEY SWANS defender Ted Richards says the club has done nothing wrong with its recent recruiting and he's disappointed with the trade restrictions placed on them by the AFL. 

After the Swans secured two high-profile recruits in two years – Kurt Tippett from Adelaide in 2012 and Lance Franklin from Hawthorn in 2013 – they were barred from the trade period last year.

Although an appeal granted them permission to participate in 2015, AFL-imposed restrictions will limit any significant deals being done.

The AFL has placed a salary limit on anyone the club wishes to sign, meaning high-profile players and free agents will be out of reach.

Swans' trade restrictions affect every club: Harley 

Richards, who came to the Swans in 2006 via the trade after battling to 33 games in four seasons at Essendon, says the whole situation is a mystery.

"In life you hope that the punishment fits the crime; in this case I know what the punishment is, I just don't know what the crime was," Richards said on Friday.

"We've got guys at the club who are speaking to the AFL to work that out and hopefully all that gets resolved."

Current Swans stars like Richards, Rhyce Shaw, Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn all started their AFL careers at other clubs but didn't play their best football until they arrived in Sydney.

Richards rubbished perceptions that the Swans' recruiting policy was all about buying the best players in the game after they snared Tippett and Franklin.

"If you look at arguably our best player over the past five years, Josh Kennedy, we didn't throw the cheque book at him," Richards said.

"He was someone we went after but Josh has really developed his game here.

"There's a long list of guys – more recently Jeremy Laidler has become an important part of our team and he's another guy who didn't come to our team in a high-profile way."

Ahead of his 250th game against St Kilda on Sunday, the former Bomber believes that if then-Swans coach Paul Roos and his assistant John Longmire hadn't brought him to Sydney, he wouldn't have reached such a big footy milestone.

"If I'd stayed at Essendon I wouldn't still be playing footy," Richards said.

"My career wasn't going in a way that I think I would have been playing there long term.

"My mindset changed about the player that I wanted to be. I think when I was at Essendon there were times where I was just happy to get a game.

"I got a second opportunity here so I had to make the most of it because not many footballers get a third opportunity."

The Swans are currently fourth on the premiership ladder and wins over the Saints and Gold Coast in the last two rounds will see them stay there and secure a vital double chance.

All of the talk about flag fancies in 2015 has centred on West Coast, Hawthorn and Fremantle in recent weeks, but Richards isn't worried that most don't rate the Swans.

"Fortunately, we're in a position where we can control our own destiny. If we play well and we keep winning, I think top four is ours," Richards said.

"We're not reliant on other teams to win or lose so that's the way we're looking at it.

"We can control what we can control."