DEBRIS had to be cleared from the Spotless Stadium surface and play was delayed by 25 minutes after lightning struck the ground in an action-packed start to Greater Western Sydney's match against the Swans.

Following some intense lightning and thunder from midway through the opening term, the heavens then opened and torrential rain fell.

The two teams made it through to quarter-time, with the Swans leading by 13 points, before the decision was made to keep the teams in the changerooms until the storm had cleared.

It is having a lingering affect, with the Gold Coast-Richmond match to be delayed by 15 minutes and the half-time and three-quarter time breaks to remain their usual length.

"The match manager determines that it's unsafe to continue play, so the teams went back into the rooms and waited for the storm to pass," an AFL NSW/ACT spokeswoman told

"After the lightning had finished they cleared the field (of debris), made sure it was safe and then they came back.

"Under the lightning rule they can delay the match by up to an hour.

"It has happened before, but it's very rare."

An official had been spotted out on the ground holding a large piece of debris while the conditions were assessed.

"The stadium was hit, but that was all cleared and it was safe to play," the spokeswoman added.

"An antenna was hit and they cleared all the debris."

It added some incredible drama to a match already featuring Lance Franklin's Swans debut, the late scratching of Kieren Jack (back) and a testy build-up between the two clubs.

The first term itself was full of more traditional action, with Franklin kicking his first goal in Swans' colours in just the seventh minute, juggling a mark before wheeling onto his left from 51m in trademark style.

GWS also started strongly, kicking three of the game's opening four goals before the Swans responded with three straight of their own and a 14-point edge.

The teams then traded goals to close out the term, with Jonathon Patton kicking two in an encouraging display from the full forward, on the comeback from a second serious knee injury.

The Swans stretched their lead to four goals late in the second term, but replies from Jeremy Cameron and Tom Scully made it jut a seven-point margin at the main break.

Twitter: @AFL_JD