Dragons forward Jack De Belin, who could be in trouble with the NRL judiciary when charges are announced on Monday, dumps South Sydney back-rower Kyle Turner into the SCG turf on Saturday night.

Dragons forward Jack De Belin, who could be in trouble with the NRL judiciary when charges are announced on Monday, dumps South Sydney back-rower Kyle Turner into the SCG turf on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images

The NRL will consider outlawing all lifting tackles in a bid to prevent another incident like the one which has ended the career of Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon but has ruled out a ban on three man tackles.

McKinnon, who may this week be transferred from Melbourne to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital, suffered spinal damage and fractured his C4 and C5 vertebrae in a tackle deemed to be a grade two dangerous throw by the NRL judiciary at the hearing last Wednesday which imposed a seven-match ban on Storm prop Jordan McLean.

There has been widespread debate about the role of the other two Melbourne players involved, brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, who held the Knights second-rower upright before McLean joined the tackle and grabbed under McKinnon's right thigh to tip him off balance.

However, statistics compiled by the NRL show that of 22 dangerous throw charges meted out by the match review committee since 2012, only three of those involved three or more players in the tackle.

Of more concern, is the rapid increase in lifting by defenders this season since the introduction of a ban on the third player tackling below the knees in a bid to discourage the "cannonball" tackle.

Fairfax columnist Roy Masters first identified the rule change as a possible cause for the injuries suffered by McKinnon the day after he was stretchered from AAMI Stadium in the March 24 clash between Melbourne and Newcastle,and both Phil Gould and Willie Mason raised their concerns on the weekend about a significant rise in lifting tackles this season.

It was noticeable in a number of matches on the weekend, with St George Illawarra forward Jack de Belin likely to come under scrutiny from the match review committee on Monday over a lifting tackle on Sam Burgess, and perhaps a couple more, during Saturday night's 26-6 loss to South Sydney, while Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis was penalised in Friday night's 9-8 defeat of Sydney Roosters.

Referees also appeared to be calling held earlier to discourage a third player from joining tackles but NRL head of football Todd Greenberg denied an edict had been issued to match officials in the wake of McKinnon's injury.

"That specific instruction was outlined prior to the start of the season and has continued throughout the opening rounds," Greenberg said.

He also confirmed the NRL competition committee, which includes Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett, would consider whether to ban lifting in tackles at the end of the season if it made the game safer in a similar change to the outlawing of shoulder charges.

Bennett last Friday called for a review to prevent serious injuries like the one suffered by McKinnon, while former Australian captain Darren Lockyer, who is also a member of the NRL competition committee, last week suggested lifting in tackles involving more than one defender could be made illegal.

Mason said the dangers of lifting tackles had now been rammed home to all players but believes it will be up to referees to eliminate the practice from the game.

"There have been a lot more lifting tackles this year than I have seen in 10 years," the Knights veteran told Triple M. "I think everybody needs to just be a lot more careful and I think the refs have got a massive responsibility now policing the game in the middle because with them getting rid of the cannonball and that sort of stuff, people can't go below the knee so people are lifting. That's why people are lifting, I reckon. I think this has really opened up the eyes of all the current players now ... but there were games in the past weekend where guys were getting flipped on their backs and all that sort of stuff so I think refs have got a massive responsibility with adjudicating the whole game. You are never going to eradicate three people in a tackle but you have just got to police it a lot better."

Gould wrote in his Sun-Herald column that he had noticed during the pre-season that players were now attacking the legs of the ball carrier as he was held in a standing position by two other defenders in a bid to control the speed of the ruck.

Meanwhile, Mason said he had sympathy for McLean but believed he should have received a longer suspension than seven matches. "If you ask all the Knights players they would probably be a little bit filthy that he got seven weeks because that ended Macca's career but if he should have got one week or he should have got a year, that is hard to answer," Mason said. "He is a young kid and he is going to be synonymous with ending someone's career. That is a hard burden to carry and as a teammate with Macca you just can't stop thinking about him and we play with him let alone being in that tackle - even the Bromwich brothers, they were in that tackle as well so all three of them should feel responsible."